Different objectives for Scarponi and Sastre at Volta a Catalunya
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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Different objectives for Scarponi and Sastre at Volta a Catalunya

by Shane Stokes at 6:45 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Volta a Catalunya
 
Italian ambitious, Spaniard building form

Michele ScarponiAfter showing himself as one of the strongest riders in Milan-Sanremo when he managed to bridge the gap between the second and first groups, then sprint it out at the end, Michele Scarponi will aim to use that form in the Volta a Catalunya. The Lampre-ISD rider will join with team-mate Alessandro Petacchi in the Spanish race, which begins Monday and runs for a week.

The duo have just one day off to recover from the 298 kilometre Classic, which was won by the Australian Matthew Goss (HTC Highroad). Despite that, Lampre-ISD sport director Bruno Vicino hopes that the two will land some big results in the race.

"I think that the fitness shown in Milano-Sanremo will allow Scarponi to be very competitive in Catalunya too,” he said. “I hope that Petacchi is solving his health problem [a cold- ed.], so that he'll have the energies to battle in the sprints to take his first victory of the season.”

Meanwhile 2008 Tour de France race winner Carlos Sastre will use the race to keep building his condition. He’s only raced three days thus far this season, and needs to clock up more. “After Murcia, I have continued to build up training kilometres and come to the Volta a Catalunya with the intention of accumulating racing kilometres and rhythm.

“For me, it is an important race, not in terms of getting a result but in terms of reaching the desired level prior to upcoming competitions, especially the Giro d'Italia.”

The Geox-TMC rider was only 91st in Murcia, over 16 minutes behind Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank SunGard), but isn’t worried. He’s known to build slowly but will hope to be in top form by the time he gets to the Giro. He will share team leadership with Denis Menchov there, and also in Catalunya.

Menchov won the Giro two years ago, while Sastre picked up two stage victories and took third overall. Runner-up Danilo di Luca has since been disqualified, so Sastre should move up to second.

The Volta a Catalunya begins tomorrow with a lumpy stage starting and ending in Lloret de Mar. It includes two first category climbs and these should quickly show who is in form and who is lacking.

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