Saxo Bank looking to surprise in Milan-Sanremo
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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saxo Bank looking to surprise in Milan-Sanremo

by Kyle Moore at 8:01 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Milan-Sanremo
Astana featuring a slew of attackers in Italian Classic

Saxo BankThough it hasn’t had much luck all season with the suspension of Alberto Contador and injury to Nick Nuyens, Saxo Bank lines out in today's Milan-Sanremo with an outside chance at a high placing.

Danish national champion Nicki Sørensen gets the leader’s bib number in his first ever start in La Classica di Primavera, but it could be the young Italian Manuele Boaro who pulls the surprise in Sanremo.

The 24-year-old was active in Tirreno-Adriatico before taking an outstanding fifth place in the final time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto, sixteen seconds behind winner Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack-Nissan).

In his first Milan-Sanremo start, and in only his second year as a professional, Boaro indeed lacks experience. But the Italian is accompanied by several veterans, including 14-year pro Matteo Tosatto, Karsten Kroon, and Michael Mørkøv.

The latter has ridden aggressively and is currently part of a nine-man break which went clear early on. Meanwhile the veteran Sørensen finds himself in the unique position of making his Sanremo debut, despite being in his twelfth professional season.

“It’s my first Milan-Sanremo and I’m really excited about my first appearance,” he said prior to today's start. “I can’t reveal our tactics as things often change in a long race like Sanremo but the main objective is to get a good result on the finish line. We’re not here to just show our colours in a breakaway, as history shows that breakaways never last in this race, and we’re all eager to race.

“Matteo and Manuele are both in great condition and I might take a supporting role for Matteo on Saturday depending on how the race unfolds. I’m highly motivated and I’m only thinking about getting in the saddle to race.”

Meanwhile, Astana also enters today’s race as an underdog, and while they have listed sprinter Borut Bozic as leader, they will look to set up one of several attacking riders.

“Given our riders’ particular skill sets, we are not among the favourites for this race and we know that most people will be backing the big-name sprinters,” remarked Astana director Alexandr Shefer. “That means that we will not line up at the start with a designated leader but instead, as per our team philosophy, with a multi-pronged strategy based around [Francesco] Gavazzi, [Enrico] Gasparotto, and Maxim Iglinskiy.”

Along with Gasparotto, who was valuable to Roman Kreuziger in his third place finish in Tirreno-Adriatico, Astana sends Dmitriy Muravyev, another active rider fresh off of the Italian stage race. Also racing for Astana are both Liquigas-Cannondale transfers Jacopo Guarnieri and Simone Ponzi, who according to Shefer, will be used to disrupt proceedings for the sprinters’ teams.

“We will look to stir up the race and wrest control of the course from the sprinters’ teams,” Shefer explained. “What we want is a tough race that does not end with the sprinters but with a tight group of riders, which we will try to infiltrate in order to give ourselves the best possible opportunity at the finish line in Sanremo.”

Saxo Bank for Milan-Sanremo:

Nicki Sørensen, Anders Lund, Karsten Kroon, Jonas Aaen Jorgensen, Manuele Boaro, Michael Mørkøv, David Tanner, Matteo Tosatto

Astana for Milan-Sanremo:

Borut Bozic, Enrico Gasparotto, Francesco Gavazzi, Jacopo Guarnieri, Maxim Iglinskiy, Dmitriy Gruzdev, Dmitriy Muravyev, Simone Ponzi


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