Martin and Nibali lead strong lineup in Tour de Pologne
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Martin and Nibali lead strong lineup in Tour de Pologne

by Shane Stokes at 12:48 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Poland
Big battle starts Sunday in WorldTour race

Dan MartinDefending champion Dan Martin (Garmin-Cervélo) will lead the charge in the 2011 edition of the Tour de Pologne, but faces stiff opposition in the seven day race.

The 24 year old Irishman has been building form to prepare for the event, and took tenth place on a stage of the recent Brixia Tour. He will be joined by a number of team-mates including Christophe Le Mevel and Heinrich Haussler.

They will be up against a range of big names, with Giro d’Italia podium finishers Michele Scarponi (Lampre ISD) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) two big challengers. The former will be joined by the strong Polish rider Przemysław Niemiec, while the latter’s squad will include the successful young Slovakian rider Peter Sagan.

Former world champion Alessandro Ballan and Mauro Santambrogio will represent the hopes of the BMC Racing Team, which is on a morale high after Cadel Evans’ win in the Tour de France. The duo have been under pressure due to their implication in the Mantova investigation, but will aim to put those thoughts to one side and ride well in Poland.

Katusha is sending three strong riders, namely Filippo Pozzato, Luca Paolini and Danilo di Luca. Pozzato is understood to be leaving the team and may be determined to prove a point after being passed over for Tour selection.

Tom Boonen also wants to prove a point, but that is not related to his Quick Step team, but rather his enforced withdrawal from the Tour due to injury. He will want to get back to winning form as soon as possible, and Poland could give him the opportunity to do just that.

More strong riders lined up:

Peter Velits, who finished a strong 19th in the Tour de France, is listed to start, although it remains to be seen if he will indeed line out in the HTC Highroad selection. The team will be a contender either way, with Kanstantsin Sivtsov also capable of a big result.

Recent Tour of Austria winner Frederik Kessaikoff will join Robert Kiserlowski and Enrico Gasparotto on the Astana team. Giro d’Italia best young rider Kevin Seeldraeyers will accompany Boonen on the Quick Step team, Peter Kennaugh and Ian Stannard will represent Sky Procycling, and Fabian Wegmann plus Austrian Thomas Rohregger will be in the colours of Team Leopard Trek.

Others taking part are Tiago Machado and Manuel Cardoso (RadioShack), Marzio Bruseghin, Fran Ventoso and Pablo Lastras (Movistar), Roman Feillu, Michal Golas and Matteo Carrara (Vacansoleil), Rinado Nocentini, Christophe Riblon and Sebastien Hinault (Ag2r la Mondiale), Graeme Brown (Rabobank), Paxi Vila (De Rosa Flaminia), plus the Polish Saxo Bank SunGard duo Jaroslaw Marycz and Rafal Majka.

The race begins on Sunday with a 101.5 kilometre stage from Pruszkow to Warzaw.



UCI World Tour:

AG2R La Mondiale (Fra), BMC Racing Team (Usa), Euskaltel Euskadi (Spa), Garmin-Cervelo (Usa), Katusha (Rus), Lampre-ISD (Ita), Leopard Trek (Lux), Liquigas Cannondale (Ita), Movistar (Spa), Omega Pharma-Lotto (Bel), Pro Team Astana (Kaz), Quick-Step (Bel), Rabobank (Ned), Sky Pro Cycling (Gbr), Team HTC-Highroad (Usa), Team Radioshack (Usa), Saxo Bank SunGard (Dan), Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team (Ned).

Wild card invitations:

CCC Polsat Polkowice (Pol), De Rosa-Ceramica Flaminia (Ita), Reprezentacja Polska (Pol), Skil-Shimano (Ned).


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