Astana and Colombia-Coldeportes sending strong teams to the Quatre Jours de Dunkerque
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Thursday, May 03, 2012

Astana and Colombia-Coldeportes sending strong teams to the Quatre Jours de Dunkerque

by Ben Atkins at 12:13 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Four Days of Dunkirk
 
With the Giro d’Italia about to start, teams are preparing to fight for the other pink jersey

valentin iglinskiyWith the eyes of the cycling world fixed on Saturday’s Giro d’Italia start in Herning, Denmark, much of the peloton is readying itself to do battle for another pink jersey: that of the Quatre Jours de Dunkerque. The Astana and Colombia-Coldeportes teams will both be sending string squads to the race, which - despite its name - is actually run over five days.

Although many of Astana’s top riders are in Denmark for the Giro start, the Kazakh’s team for Dunkerque will be include many from its line up from the Spring Classics; and with good reason, as directeur sportif Guido Bontempi explained.

“The Four Days of Dunkirk will bring us to some roads we tackled not so long ago, since part of the course overlaps with the walls and cobbles of the Gent–Wevelgem,” he said.

The race was won by the team’s captain and talisman Alexandre Vinokourov in 1998, at the beginning of his career, and so it holds an important place for the team. This is not the only reason that it will be taking the five day race seriously, however.

“The Four Days of Dunkirk is a big event in the French calendar and we have come to pay tribute to this competition,” said Bontempi. “We’ve got a really motivated team and, since we’re not starting with a designated captain, the riders will have a chance to prove themselves. Some of them are in their first few years as professionals and they have got to take advantage of this opportunity to get some impressive results.”

juan pablo foreroProfessional Continental Colombia-Coldeportes was not lucky enough to be included in the list of wildcard teams for the Giro - even though it was invited to RCS Sport’s other three major races: Tirreno-Adriatico, Milano-Sanremo and Il Lombardia - and so has its entire roster to choose from for Dunkerque.

The South American team is also expecting racing akin to that experienced in the spring, but - even though the riders are more used to climbing in the mountains - it will be out to perform.

“We are likely to find similar conditions to the cobbled Classics,” directeur sportif Oscar Pellicioli explained. “Rain and wind will make the routes treacherous, even though there will be no big climbs.

“But we’ll be looking to hold our own,” he added. “We are going to France with a nice group of committed athletes, determined to take any opportunity that should arise, even with long-range escapes. Moreover, we hope to take some good sprints placements with Juan Pablo Forero.”

Astana team for the Quatre Jours de Dunkerque
Dmitriy Fofonov, Andriy Grivko, Dmitriy Gruzdev, Valentin Iglinskiy, Dimitriy Muravyev, Evgeniy Nepomnyachshiy and Sergey Renev

Colombia-Coldeportes team for the Quatre Jours de Dunkerque
Claudio Corti: Juan Pablo Forero, Javier Gonzalez, Felipe Laverde, Dalivier Ospina, Victor Hugo Peña, Carlos Quintero, Jeffry Romero and Juan Pablo Suarez.

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