Lampre-ISD and Omega Pharma-Quick Step announce Giro d’Italia teams
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Friday, April 27, 2012

Lampre-ISD and Omega Pharma-Quick Step announce Giro d’Italia teams

by Ben Atkins at 1:18 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
Cunego a free agent as Scarponi defends title for blue-fuchsia outfit; stage wins and experience sought by Belgian team

michele scarponiThe Lampre-ISD and Omega Pharma-Quick Step teams have both announced their nine-man line ups for the Giro d’Italia, which starts in Herning, Denmark, on May 5th, with very different objectives. The Italian blue-fuchsia team is defending the 2011 victory of Michele Scarponi [which was handed to the 32-year-old after the retrospective disqualification of Alberto Contador - ed]; while the Belgian team - which enjoyed unprecedented success in the Cobbled Classics - will be looking for stage victories, as well as blooding some its younger riders in their first Grand Tour.

"The Giro d’Italia will be a important part of the team’s season,” said Lampre-ISD’s general manager Giusepp Saronni. “The Corsa Rosa is the major objective of Michele Scarponi.

“The team has supported his decision to target the Giro,” he explained, “and will support him with maximum commitment and confidence during the three weeks to try to fight for the general classification.”

In addition to defending champion Scarponi, the team will also boast 2004 winner Damiano Cunego, who will be a free agent in the race. After a strong showing in the Ardennes Classics, and the mountainous Giro del Trentino - where Scarponi struggled - Cunego may even find himself out performing his teammate.

“The presence of Cunego will be very significant, as Damiano will certainly be an element of utmost importance for the race at a tactical level,” Saronni explained. “This does not preclude the fact Cunego who will have the opportunity to have freedom of action in the appropriate occasions. All other riders of the team were selected for the quality, assurance and strength that they will certainly provide.”

A significant omission from the team is sprinter Alessandro Petacchi, who has been struggling for results this season. The absence of the 38-year-old from La Spezia - who has a total of 22 Giro stage wins to his name - will mean that the team will have no recognised sprinter. This will mean that there will be one less team chasing breakaways on the race’s few flat stages.

Sprints and experience for Omega Pharma-Quick Step

francesco chicchiWith no real overall contender in the race, Omega Pharma-Quick Step will be looking for stage wins with Francesco Chicchi, who has been one of the fastest sprinters of the season so far. The Italian has taken five victories in 2012 so far, and will be hunting his first ever stage in his home Grand Tour.

“It’s a beautiful Giro,” explained the team’s directeur sportif Davide Bramati. “During which it will be important to measure our energy in a build up to an extremely challenging final on major mountains.

“We’ll be at the start with a young, motivated formation that can stand out on any type of terrain,” he boasted. “For the sprints we can count on what Chicchi can bring; Francesco has started the season well, and victory in the Giro could give him good confidence for the rest of the season and reward him for the great work he’s been doing up to now. In the stages ideal for breaks, there will be plenty of room for athletes like [Marco] Bandiera, [Michal] Golas, [Nikolas] Maes and Martin Velits, who will also have to stay close to the two athletes that should give battle in the high mountain stages and in the general classification, [Dario] Cataldo and [Serge] Pauwels.

“Dario and Serge are two outstanding athletes who have already shined in the past on the roads of the Giro,” Bramati continued. “Pauwels was a brilliant player in the race in 2009 and Cataldo stood out in the last editions, even coming close to a stage victory.

“The squad is completed by two newcomers to the three week races, [Michal] Kwiatkowski and [Julien] Vermote,” he concluded. “Michal will try to put his skills as a time trial man to good use right away in the brief prologue that will open the race, while Julien will gain some important experience in support of his teammates and a significant investment for his future. Overall the team has all its cards in order to go for a stage victory and a good placing in the general classification.”

Lampre-ISD team for the Giro d’Italia
Matteo Bono, Damiano Cunego, Adriano Malori, Przemyslaw Niemiec, Daniele Pietropolli, Daniele Righi, Michele Scarponi, Alessandro Spezialetti and Diego Ulissi.

Omega Pharma-Quick Step team for the Giro d’Italia
Marco Bandiera, Dario Cataldo, Francesco Chicchi, Michal Golas, Michal Kwiatkowski, Nikolas Maes, Serge Pauwels, Martin Velits and Julien Vermote

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