Milan-Sanremo: Omega Pharma Quick Step pledges full support to Boonen
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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Milan-Sanremo: Omega Pharma Quick Step pledges full support to Boonen

by VeloNation Press at 7:50 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Milan-Sanremo
Strong team will be able to respond to tactical challenges

Tom BoonenRunner up in 2010 to another former world champion, Oscar Freire, the in-form Tom Boonen will line out in Saturday’s Milan-Sanremo with a strong team backing his chances.

The Omega Pharma - Quick-Step lineup for the race has been confirmed, and the Belgian sprinter and Classic specialist will take to the start with the full support of eight others.

Boonen will be joined by French champion Sylvain Chavanel, former world under 23 title holder Gerald Ciolek, Vuelta a Espana podium finisher Peter Velits, Nikolas Maes, Jerome Pineau, Niki Terpstra and Stijn Vandenbergh.

Some of those would be regarded as leaders on other teams, but Omega Pharma Quick Step director Davide Bramati confirms that they will row in behind the Belgian.

“The team is coming to the starting line with a designated leader, Tom Boonen,” he said “In this first part of the season Tom has proven to be in top form. He even shined in the recent Paris Nice, winning the stage in Orleans and then he followed this up by doing a great job for Levi Leipheimer.”

The 31 year old has been in excellent form since the start of the year, showing early season form that’s better than recent years. He won a stage of the Tour de San Luis in January, then nabbed two stage victories, the points competition and the overall classification in the Tour of Qatar in February. He was also second in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

Milan Sanremo almost always comes down to a select gallop and that’s why Boonen is the logical choice as leader. However, given that it is still relatively unpredictable, the lineup will have the flexibility to respond to the action as tactics dictate.

“The squad is well equipped either way to be a major player in every phase of the race,” Bramati added. “We can count on outstanding individuals who can adapt to the tactical situations that might come up along the route.”

However one who will not take part is the Belgian Dries Devenyns. He crashed on the penultimate stage of Paris-Nice and suffered an injury to his shoulder. X-rays carried on on Monday have confirmed that he has fractured the acromion in his left shoulder, and as a result he will spend some time away from competition.

“This is a terrible time for me,” he said. “I was really enjoying a period of top form and I was ready to race the Sanremo. Unfortunately these things happen and there’s nothing I can do about it; considering the seriousness of the fall, it could have been even worse. Now my goal is to try to heal well and get back to the races as soon as possible.”


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