Giro: Belgian teams Quick Step and Omega Pharma-Lotto name squads
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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Giro: Belgian teams Quick Step and Omega Pharma-Lotto name squads

by Conal Andrews at 9:03 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
Teams’ biggest riders won’t compete in Italy

Gerald CiolekFormer world under 23 champion Gerald Ciolek and fellow sprinter Francesco Chicchi will spearhead the stage winning aspirations of the Quick Step team in the Giro d’Italia, aiming for success on the flatter stages of the race. They are part of a nine-man team which has been confirmed today for the race. The duo will be joined by the Belgians Kevin Seeldraeyers and Kristof Vandewalle, the Italians Dario Cataldo, Davide Malacarne and Francesco Reda, the Frenchman Jerome Pinaeu and Dutch rider Addy Engels.

Although the team’s top names such as Tom Boonen and Sylvain Chavanel are not competing, directeur sportif Davide Bramati believes the squad’s chances are good. “We have a young, energetic team, eager to make their mark at the Giro.

“Historically we've always played offence in the Giro d’Italia, and this year we're also going to try to animate the race when we can. The team is valid and qualified for any type of terrain. We have some good sprinters, riders who are good at attacking, like Jerome Pineau and athletes such as Cataldo and Seeldraeyers on whom we're counting to make a leap in quality with respect to last year.

He said that the team’s buildup to the race has been smooth and the riders are in good condition. Because of that, it is aiming for success. “Our aim is to attempt to win at least one stage and try to get one of our athletes into the top 10 of the overall standings,” he said.

Meanwhile rival Belgian team Omega Pharma Lotto has also announced its selection. Six out of the nine riders are Belgian, namely Jan Bakelants, Bart de Clercq, Francis de Greef, Gert Cockx, Olivier Kaisen and Klaas Lodewyck. The Briton Adam Blythe will be there, as will the Finnish rider Jussi Veikkanen.

Blythe rode the race last year and had a best stage placing of fifth.

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