Ferrari to lead Lampre-Merida in upcoming Santos Tour Down Under, Valls Ferri for GC
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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ferrari to lead Lampre-Merida in upcoming Santos Tour Down Under, Valls Ferri for GC

by VeloNation Press at 6:25 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour Down Under
WorldTour race starts in just 28 days, countdown continues

Roberto FerrariWith there being a strong likelihood of several sprint finishes at next month’s Santos Tour Down Under, the Lampre-Merida team has opted to have a fastman lead the squad for the WorldTour race.

The sprinter Roberto Ferrari has been named as the protected rider on the team, with his fellow Italians Diego Ulissi, Davide Cimolai, Manuele Mori, Luca Wackermann and Matteo Bono also part of the lineup.

The seven-man team will be completed by the Spaniard Rafael Valls Ferri. He finished twelfth overall in last year’s race and will be watched by the other GC contenders.

Ferrari beat Mark Cavendish and others to win a stage of the 2012 Giro d’Italia, and also took three other victories that year. This season was quieter, with second in the Coppa Bernocchi his best result, but that will spur him on to achieve more in 2014. Victory on one or more stages of the Australian event would get things off to a perfect start.

Ulissi took six wins in 2013, including a stage of the Tour de Pologne plus Milan-Torino. He will be riding the race for the first time. While he is uncertain that he will have the form to win a stage or place highly in the overall, he said he’ll take whatever opportunities come his way.

“I’m really excited to live the Australian experience: it will be my first time in the land down under. I travelled a lot during my career, but the Australian challenge gives me new spurs,” he stated.

“Talking about my aims, it’s necessary to consider that the Santos Tour Down Under comes very early in the season. It won’t so easy to go there to get a result, but of course I won’t brake if there will be the chance to battle for a very good performance.”

Even if he is not in the shape to grab a result, he sees the team as being very capable of that. “Team Lampre-Merida could be very competitive, considering that in the team there will be two fast riders in Ferrari and Cimolai. [Also] Mori, who likes mixed courses and three strong athletes such Bono, Valls and Wackermann. So, let’s start the season in a good way in Australia.”

Race director Mike Turtur pinpointed two days which he believes will suit Lampre Merida. “With the team focusing on stage wins for Ferrari, I expect Lampre-Merida will be targeting Stage 2 and Bupa Stage 4 as the likelihood of a bunch sprint finish is high,” he stated.

“Ferrari will also be joined by Diego Ulissi who had a brilliant season in 2013 with six stage wins, including the first stage of the Tour of Poland and victory at Milano-Torino. Lampre-Merida also has a good contender for the Ochre Jersey in Spaniard Rafael Valls Ferri who finished only 53 seconds behind winner Tom-Jelte Slagter in the 2013 Santos Tour Down Under.”

The programme of racing begins with the People’s Choice Classic in Adelaide on January 19th. The WorldTour event starts on January 21st with a 135 kilometre race from Nuriootpa to Angaston. Subsequent finishes will take place in Stirling, Campbelltown, Victor Harbor, Willunga Hill and Adelaide.

Turtur said that he had been very encouraged by the lineup thus far. “We have already announced that some of the world’s best cyclists including Cadel Evans and Frank Schleck will be competing and I think 2014 is shaping up to be one of the best line-ups in the event’s history.”

Lampre Merida for Santos Tour Down Under:

Diego Ulissi (Italy)
Matteo Bono (Italy)
Davide Cimolai (Italy)
Roberto Ferrari (Italy)
Manuele Mori (Italy)
Rafael Valls Ferri (Spain)
Luca Wackermann (Italy)

Stage details:

Sunday 19 January: People’s Choice Classic, Adelaide (50km)
Monday 20 January: Rest day
Tuesday 21 January: Stage 1, Nuriootpa to Angaston (135km)
Wednesday 22 January: Stage 2, Prospect to Stirling (150km)
Thursday 23 January: Stage 3, Norwood to Campbelltown (145km)
Friday 24 January: Bupa Stage 4, Unley to Victor Harbor (148.5km)
Saturday 25 January: Stage 5, McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill (151.5km)
Sunday 26 January: Stage 6, Adelaide (95km)


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