Tour de Slovénie Preview: Italian teams and Astana likely to feature
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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tour de Slovénie Preview: Italian teams and Astana likely to feature

by Kyle Moore at 9:29 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Diego Ulissi looking to defend title in four-day stage race

Diego UlissiThe Tour of Slovenia (UCI 2.1) gets underway today, one of several 2.1 races positioned as Tour de France warm up races outside of France or Switzerland.

The four-day stage race features a number of Italian squads in their first major race since the Giro d’Italia, with invitations also being accepted by World Tour teams Astana, Orica-GreenEdge, and Saxo Bank.

The previous three winners of the Tour de Slovénie are well-known names – Jacob Fuglsang in 2009, Vincenzo Nibali in 2010, and Diego Ulissi (Lampre-ISD) returns to the race this year to defend his title from 2011. VeloNation takes a look at Slovenia’s three road stages and concluding time trial, as well as the major participating teams and their goals.

The Stages:

Stage 1: Celje – Novo Mesto (152km)

Three categorized climbs, the final, a category 3, crests 16 kilometers from the finish. Borut Bozic (Astana), Danilo Napolitano (Acqua & Sapone), and Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) are likely to duke it out for the win.

Stage 2: Kocevje – Metlika (177km)


An undulating stage with two category 3 climbs in the second half, plus two more lumps on the run-in, could favor an escape staying away.

Stage 3: Ivancna Gorica – Skofja Loka (219km)

Saturday’s queen stage should go a long way in deciding the overall winner, along with Sunday’s time trial. The stage has three category 1 climbs, with the final summit coming at kilometer number 175. But with the three climbs close in succession, it should be a pretty select group that contests the gradually descending finish.

Stage 4 (TT): Ljubljana (17.8km)

Pancake flat and rather short, the rider who has best recovered from the Giro d’Italia, or the rider looking to make an impression on his team’s Tour de France selection will be especially inspired. Janez Brajkovic (Astana) could be primed to take his first home stage race, or perhaps TT specialist Jens Mouris could get his first win for Orica-GreenEdge.

Some of the teams:

Acqua & Sapone:

Danilo di Luca, Francesco Reda, and Danilo Napolitano are the featured riders. Di Luca will be looking to go well in his last tune up before the Italian road race championship on June 24 in Trentino. “I’ve had a good start to the season, but I’ve missed getting a victory,” Di Luca said. “I want to get on the top step of the podium before the end of the year, and the Italian championships would be an ideal return to the podium.”

Astana:

Slovenian Janez Brajkovic was fifth place in his home tour in 2004 and 2005, and is making his first appearance in the race since then. “I would like to ride for the overall victory,” Brajkovic told Planetsiol.net. “But this will depend largely on my condition. Whether I race for a stage win or the overall victory, we will decide team leadership on Thursday [Astana will also race with Fredrik Kessiakoff and Egor Silin– ed.], as I will go for the overall only in the event that I have fully recovered from the Critérium du Dauphiné.” Brajkovic could be the first Slovenian winner of the race since Jure Golcer in 2008.

Farnese Vini-Selle Italia:

Filippo Pozzato picks up with his first race since crashing out of the Giro d’Italia. “We are resuming the preparation of Filippo Pozzato for the Olympics,” said team manager Luca Scinto. “And also it is to maintain his condition for the Italian championships, along with [Francesco] Failli and [Matteo] Rabottini, who in fact will be our leaders in the race for the tricolore jersey.”

Liquigas-Cannondale:

Kristjan Koren is the lone racer in the Italian lime green from Slovenia racing in his home tour. He has reportedly secured a spot in the Tour de France, which would be his third in three years with the team. Koren would be inspired racing in his home country, indicating to Planetsiol.net that he could go on the attack during one of the first two stages. “My form should already be good enough so I can race to be visible and get a result,” Koren said. “The route this year is very interesting and challenging, since theoretically the cards could be shuffled every day. However, the race will be open until the end. For me, the first favorite in the race is Janez Brajkovic.”


Tour de Slovénie (UCI 2.1) Provisional Start List:


ACQUA & SAPONE (Italy)

CIAVATTA Paolo
CORIONI Claudio
DI LUCA Danilo
DONATI Alessandro
MIHOLJEVIC Vladimir
NAPOLITANO Danilo
REDA Francesco
TABORRE Fabio


ADRIA MOBIL (Slovenia)

DURASEK Kristijan
FAJT Kristjan
GNEZDA Matej
KUMP Marko
MUGERLI Matej
NOSE Tomasz
PAVLIN Simon
ROGINA Radoslav


ASTANA (Kazakhstan)

BOZIC Borut
BRAJKOVIC Janez
GRUZDEV Dmitriy
GUARNIERI Jacopo
IGLINSKIY Valentin
KANGERT Tanel
KESSIAKOFF Fredrik
SELIN Egor


COLNAGO - CSF INOX (Italy)

BATTAGLIN Enrico
BRAMBILLA Gianluca
CANOLA Marco
DI CORRADO Andrea
LOCATELLI Paolo
LOMBARDI Omar
PASQUALON Andrea
POZZOVIVO Domenico


FARNESE VINI (Italy)

ANDRIATO Rafael
BALLONI Alfredo
CACCIA Diego
FAILLI Francesco
HULSMANS Kevin
NARDECCHIA Umberto
POZZATO Filippo
RABOTTINI Matteo


LAMPRE – ISD (Italy)

ANACONA Winner Anrew
BUTS Vitaliy
KRIVTSOV Dmytro
KVACHUK Oleksandr
MALORI Adriano
RIGHI Daniele
SPEZIALETTI Alessandro
ULISSI Diego


LIQUIGAS - CANNONDALE (Italy)

AGNOLI Valerio
BODNAR Maciek
CARUSO Damiano
KOREN Kristjan
MARANGONI Alan
NERZ Dominique
PATERSKI Maciej
SAGAN Juraj


ORICA GREENEDGE (Australia)

BEWLEY Sam
DOCKER Mitchell
GOSS Matthew Harley
HEPBURN Michael
IMPEY Daryl
LANCASTER Brett
MEYER Travis
MOURIS Jens


RADENSKA (Slovenia)

BOSTNER Jaka
JENKO Robert
PAVLIC Marko
PIBERNIK Luka
POLANC Jan
RAJSP Andrej
STIMULAK Klemen
TRATNIK Jan


SAVA (Slovenia)

BITENC Jure
BURJEK Nik
DZAMASTAGIC Mark
KERKEZ Vladimir
MEZGEC Luka
MIKELJ Tim


TEAM IDEA (Italy)

BISOLTI Alessandro
BOIFAVA Simone
COMINELLI Cristian
DE MARIA Giuseppe
DODI Luca
FRAPPORTI Marco
PALINI Andrea
RATTI Aristide


TEAM SAXO BANK (Denmark)

CHRISTENSEN Mads
HAEDO Lucas Sebastian
LUND Anders
MAJKA Rafael
MARGALIOT Ran
PIRES Bruno
TANNER David


TIROL CYCLING TEAM (Austria)

FANKHAUSER Clemens
FURDI Blaz
GOLCER Jure
OBKIRCHER Marc
PRAXMARER Stefan
SOKOLL Christoph
TOTSCHNIG Harald
WEISS Martin


TOPSPORT VLAANDEREN – MERCATOR (Belgium)

ARMEE Sander
DE KETELE Kenny
DECLERCQ Tim
DE JONGHE Kevin
SERRY Pieter
VAN HECKE Preben
VAN VOOREN Steven
VANOVERBERGHE Arthur
 

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