Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Lotto-Belisol and Katusha sending big names to San Luis
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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Lotto-Belisol and Katusha sending big names to San Luis

by Ben Atkins at 12:19 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Mark Cavendish, Jurgen Van Den Broeck and Joaquim Rodríguez to start their 2013 seasons in Argentina

joaquim rodriguezOmega Pharma-Quick Step, Lotto-Belisol and Katusha have announced their teams for the Tour de San Luis, which starts in the central Argentinean province on Monday, January 21st. All three have sent some of their biggest names to the seventh edition of the 2.1-ranked South American race, but are looking to take different things away from the seven stages.

Omega Pharma-Quick Step dominated last year’s edition, with Francesco Chicchi and Levi Leipheimer taking two stages each, Tom Boonen winning one, and Leipheimer winning overall. Only Boonen remains with the Belgian team this season, however, and the Belgian champion will not be beginning his season until later; the team hopes to take at least one sprint victory though, as 2011 World champion Mark Cavendish will be making his competitive debut in the pale blue, white and black colours.

“We know already the parcours and the road here even if there are slight changes,” said Omega Pharma-Quick Step directeur sportif Davide Bramati. “The course is difficult, with uphill finishes, a time trial and few stages for the sprinter. We will see day by day how to interpret the race. We have good riders and it would be great to start our season with a good result.”

Lotto-Belisol’s star sprinter - André Greipel - is part of the other big Belgian team’s roster for the Santos Tour Down Under, which begins the day after San Luis, and so the rekindling of his rivalry with Cavendish will have to wait for later in the season. Instead of its fastman, the team will get Tour de France hopeful Jurgen Van den Broeck’s season under way, as the 29-year-old builds towards the summer.

“The agreeable climate, the route and the strong opponents have made me decide to start here,” Van De Broeck said. “I don’t know the race, but when I see who rode here the past few years, I think we have made the ride choice. We left Thursday evening to travel from Brussels to Madrid and took a night flight there to Buenos Aires. Friday afternoon there was a domestic flight to San Luis. We now have a few days to acclimatise.

“In my preparation for the Tour I will only ride stage races and this race has to give me an idea of how my condition is right now,” he explained. “I owe it to myself and my team to give the best I can in every stage race. I will try to give the maximum each time and hope to set some nice results. If I am able to set a good result in those races I will definitely go for it.”

Having missed out on the 2013 WorldTour, Russian team Katusha managed to secure registration at second division Professional Continental level at the thirteenth hour. Having missed out on an invitation to this year’s Giro d’Italia, the team is sending some of its biggest names to the race, in order to begin the process of proving that it’s worthy of inclusion in the other big races of the year.

The Russian team’s six-man line up includes all five of its Spanish riders - led by 2012 WorldTour winner Joaquim Rodríguez (pictured) - and one of its two Italians, in Luca Paolini.

Omega Pharma-Quick Step team for the Tour de San Luis
Mark Cavendish, Sylvain Chavanel, Michal Kwiatkowski, Pieter Serry, Matteo Trentin and Martin Velits

Lotto-Belisol team for the Tour de San Luis
Jens Debusschere, Kenny Dehaes, Bart De Clercq, Jurgen Van den Broeck, Joost Van Leijen, Frederik Willems

Katusha team for the Tour de San Luis
Xavier Florencio, Alberto Losada, Daniel Moreno, Luca Paolini, Joaquim Rodriguez, Angel Vicioso

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