Vuelta: Lampre for Hondo, Liquigas for Bennati in bunch sprints
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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Vuelta: Lampre for Hondo, Liquigas for Bennati in bunch sprints

by Conal Andrews at 11:02 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
Things more open than in the Tour

Daniele BennatiAs the kilometres tick down towards the end of today’s twelfth stage of the Vuelta a España, several key teams are fighting to ensure that their sprinters are in with a chance of taking the victory. Mark Cavendish is yet to take a stage win in this year’s race, and so those on rival teams see the gallops as being far more open than they were during the Tour.

One of those who has beaten Cavendish in the past is Daniele Bennati and the Italian will do his utmost to top the podium today. Prior to the start, his team-mate Jacopo Guarnieri made it clear that the Liquigas-Doimo riders would temporarily put aside their focus on Vincenzo Niballi in order to help the sprinter.

“Today we’re all behind Bennati”, he said. “We want to give him a chance to be selected for the World’s because there aren’t many days left until Paolo Bettini will release his list. We’re all pretty strong at Liquigas-Doimo now. We’re mostly here to support Nibali for GC but we also want today’s stage win for Bennati.”

Rival Italian team Lampre-Farnese Vini have committed to helping Danilo Hondo out. He’s normally a leadout man for Alessandro Petacchi, but with the big Italian already gone home after a heavy fall, the German is one of those who has been promoted to top position.

“We’ll work for a bunch sprint for Hondo or Angelo Furlan,” explained Maurizio Piovani beforehand. “Hondo is in a great shape and has different possibilities for a stage win. It can be a breakaway or a sprint. But Furlan has only one option: a bunch sprint. There’s an opportunity to be seized today.”

Hondo said he was willing to go for it, but didn’t want to commit early on. “If it comes back together, I’ll try,” he said. “But we won’t work for that. We’ll figure out the situation after the climb.”

The stage is now nearing the end and a big gallop looks more and more likely. Bennati and Hondo will be licking their lips, but Cavendish is also certain to give it a big shot and to try to finally get things back on track. But whatever happens today, the same riders – and others such as Garmin-Transitions’ Tyler Farrar – will be in the thick of the fight again between now and the race end in Madrid.


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