Chavenel and Boonen to continue Tour buildup at Tour de Suisse
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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Chavenel and Boonen to continue Tour buildup at Tour de Suisse

by Conal Andrews at 11:45 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Tour de Suisse
Cunego heads Lampre-ISD selection

QuickStep leaders Sylvain Chavanel and Tom Boonen will this Saturday move to the next step of their Tour de France buildup when the line out in the prologue time trial in the Tour de Suisse.

The Frenchman excelled during last year’s Tour, winning two stages and leading the race for two separate days. Boonen missed the race due to injury but is determined to return to his previous strong level there after some disrupted years.

He missed the 2008 race due to a positive test for cocaine, rode anonymously in 2009 and then was unable to take part in 2010 due to knee problems. His last stage win was back in 2007; he took two victories, as well as the green jersey as points victor.

Quick Step directeur sportif Wilfried Peeters describes this year’s Swiss tour as a very demanding one. “It’s tailored to climbers,” he said. “However there are some mixed stages that will test our training, perfect for finding the right pedalling momentum as we lead up to the Tour de France.

“Our team is well equipped for this race. We’re lining up for the start with athletes like Chavanel, De Weert and Devenyns, who are highly motivated after a period of intense training and ready to ride a good race; but there are also high calibre athletes like Boonen, Steegmans, Ciolek and Vandewalle who’ll be able to get into the battle for victory in some stages.”

The team will be completed by world cyclo-cross champion Zdenek Stybar, who this spring began competing with the team after concentrating on off-road competition for several seasons. He’s seen as a major talent for the future, and Peeters regards the Tour de Suisse as being an opportunity for him to learn more and to measure himself up against others.

“This will be an important test for him on the major climbs, and a further step in his apprenticeship period in road cycling,” he said.

Damiano CunegoMeanwhile Damiano Cunego will continue his own buildup to the Tour when he leads the Lampre team in Switzerland. He’ll be joined by Alfredo Balloni, Matteo Bono, Danilo Hondo, Oleksandr Kvachuk, David Loosli, Enrico Magazzini and Daniele Righi.

Cunego won the best young rider classification in the 2006 Tour de France, and also took second on the stage to Alpe d’Huez. However he hasn’t every challenged for the overall. Despite that, he recently said that he believes things could be different this year.

Directeur sportif Valerio Tebaldi hopes to see a big performance from the team in Switzerland, while also building up towards July. “The Tour de Suisse will be important for Lampre-ISD for various reasons,” he said. “First of all, it will be the first race for Cunego after the break that followed the early part of the season. Damiano trained in a good way in these weeks, so we’re helpful that he'll be able to improve his fitness in view of the National Championship and Tour de France.

“In addition, we’re rely on the Swiss Loosli, who’ll ride on his roads; on the will by youngsters Balloni and Magazzi to show their improvements; on Hondo, who will be free to try to exploit his chances in the few possible scheduled sprints; on Kvachuk, who’ll try to repeat the good performances shown in Tour de Romandie; on Bono and Righi, who’ll be for sure top supporters for the team captain.”

Saturday’s opening stage will be a prologue at Lugano. The race is nine stages in length and will see the riders cover a total of 1246 kilometres.


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