Liquigas-Cannondale is sending its stars to the Ardennes
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Friday, April 15, 2011

Liquigas-Cannondale is sending its stars to the Ardennes

by Ben Atkins at 5:00 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Liège-Bastogne-Liège , Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne
Ivan Basso, Vincenzo Nibali and Peter Sagan all heading to the hilly races

peter saganLiquigas-Cannondale will be bringing three of its biggest stars to the Ardennes Classics, which begin with the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday. Slovakian Peter Sagan will lead the team into the Amstel Gold, Ivan Basso will take over leadership duties for Wednesday’s La Flèche Wallonne, while Vincenzo Nibali will join Basso for Liège-Bastogne-Liège the following Sunday.

“We’ve got a demanding week ahead and we’ll tackle it with maximum determination,” said sports director Alberto Volpi. “We’ve selected three different line-ups that we’ve ‘built’ based on the different parcours in each classic. We’ll have our key riders like Basso, Nibali and Sagan, and they’ll be supported by the other guys who need to use bold manoeuvres as their main weapon.

“Sagan and [Kristijan] Koren are back from the Paris-Roubaix with a few minor aches and pains,” he explained. “They are fit and the course suits them but the competition is going to be tough. They will have to race shrewdly without wasting too much energy. Their teammates can and have to be more daring though: they’ve got to be completely focused to tackle this race so they can capitalise on every opportunity.”

On Wednesday Sagan and Koren will step aside for Basso and Timmy Duggan; this will be Basso’s first race since withdrawing from the Vuelta al Pais Vasco through illness.

“This race marks Ivan’s return to the peloton,” said Volpi. “It’s fundamental that we assess how he feels during the race and understand how competitive he’ll be in the finale. Just like the Amstel, the alternative is to play the role of outsider with the rest of the team.”

Assuming Basso gets through La Flèche okay, he will stay in the team for Liège-Bastogne-Liège, where he will be joined by Vincenzo Nibali.

“You need to bring your A game for this race and with Basso and Nibali in the running we’ve got the chance to think big. Vincenzo will be fresh from the Giro del Trentino and Ivan from “La Flèche” so they’ll be racing fit: the team will work hard so they can give it their best shot.”

In the past the Liquigas team has won all three of the Ardennes Classics with Danilo Di Luca; of the current line up though, Basso has the best record, finishing third in the 2002 Liège and second in the 2001 Flèche.

Liquigas-Cannondale for the Amstel Gold Race:
Francesco Bellotti, Damiano Caruso, Kristijan Koren, Paolo Longo Borghini, Dominik Nerz, Maciej Paterski, Simone Ponzi and Peter Sagan

Liquigas-Cannondale for the La Flèche Wallonne:
Ivan Basso, Francesco Bellotti, Damiano Caruso, Timmy Duggan, Paolo Longo Borghini, Dominik Nerz, Maciej Paterski and Simone Ponzi

Liquigas-Cannondale for the Liège-Bastogne-Liège:
Valerio Agnoli, Ivan Basso, Eros Capecchi, Damiano Caruso, Dominik Nerz, Vincenzo Nibali, Maciej Paterski and Simone Ponzi


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