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91st Giro d'Italia - Team CSC Preview
 
By Bart Hazen
Date: 5/8/2008
91st Giro d'Italia - Team CSC Preview
 

Giro d'Ialia - 2008 Team CSC Preview
Deep with talent, Bjarne Riis brings a team of that might be deceptive in its strength, balance and power to do battle on the roads of Italy; but Riis and his riders. always manages to surprise.

Team CSC will start with a team without a real GC rider unless Gustav Erik Larsson and Jens Voigt can surprise. In the past Bradley McGee finished in the top 10 of the Giro D’Italia but since then he hasn't  reached that level. In spite of this the team is very strong and very balanced and is one of the teams to beat for the openings team time-trial on Saturday.

Team CSC
Giro d'Italia 2008 Squad

• Gustav Erik Larsson
• Chris Anker Sørensen
• Jens Voigt
• Stuart O'Grady
• Bradley McGee
• Anders Lund
• Michael Blaudzun
• Jason McCartney
• Nicki Sørensen

Gustav Erik Larsson
As we said CSC doesn’t have a real rider for the GC but we will pick Gustav Erik Larsson as the team captain for the Danish team of Bjarne Riis. The Swede is an excellent time-trialist and can climb well. Larsson started his career with Fassa Bortolo (2003) and joined La FDJ in 2006. In 2007 he rode for Unibet.com and 2008 is his first year for the Danish team.


2007 Eneco Tour Larsson in his Swedish Championship Jersey finished third on a very technical course. Photo © 2008 Bart Hazen

The 27 year old from Gemla, Sweden in his 7th season as a pro is a multiple Swedish TT champion and has competed in the Giro and Tour de France once but without any significant results. 2007 was a really good year for Larsson despite Unibet.com was forced to the sidelines and couldn't ride a lot of the ProTour races. Larsson can count among his palmares: 5th in the Tour Down Under, 7th in the Tour de Luxembourg, 13th in the Tour de Suisse, 9th in the Deutschland Tour, 3rd in the Eneco Tour, 3rd in the Swedish national championships (road) and on top of that he was the best in the Swedish national TT Championships. Thus far in 2008 he was 5th in the Tour de California, 6th in the Tirreno-Adriatico and 2nd in the Criterium International - a solid performer.

Jens Voigt
Another rider you can always count on is German powerhouse Jens Voigt. Voigt needs no introduction as he is a popular rider due to his consistent ability and desire to animate any race he is in. Voigt turned pro in 1997 with the Czech team ZVVZ, from 1998 to 2003 he rode for Credit Agricole and since 2004 he is riding for CSC. Voigt has a good time-trial and is a good climber too.


Jens on Stage 3 climb at the 2008 Tour of California Photo © Mark Adkison Ph.D.

The 36 year old rider from Grevesmühlen, Germany is a veteran of eight grand tours. Voigt's palmares are too long to list, so a few hightlights: four times the criterium international (1999, 2004, 2007 and 2008) is a multiple winner of the Bayern Rundfahrt, won two stages in the Tour de France (2001 and 2006), won a stage in the Dauphine, a stage in Paris-Nice; he has also won the Deutschland Tour the past two years. Jen's has also worn the maillot jaune in the Tour de France two times. Voigt competed in the Giro in 2006 and finished in 37th.

Chris Anker Sörensen
A great climber for the future is Dane young gun Chris Anker Sörensen. Sörensen turned pro in 2005 with Team Designa Kokken, became a stagiair spot with CSC in 2006 and signed a contract with CSC as a pro in 2007. Sörensen profiled himself as a climber in last years Vuelta when he did lots of work in the mountains for Sastre. He even finished as 19th himself, an excellent result for a young rider working in support of his team leader.  Chris was 12th in the GP Beghelli and 6th in the Deutschland Tour where he also won the TTT with CSC. In 2008 Sörensen was performed well with second in the KOM ranking of Paris-Nice and 11th in Castilla y Leon. We will definitely see Sörensen, (who is not related to Nicki Sörensen and Rolf Sörensen) in the tough mountain stage in the Giro.

Stuart O’Grady
Another famous and well-known rider in the team is Aussie Stuart O’Grady. O’Grady will use the Giro to get some more racing kilometers after he missed the final part of last season and a part of the preparation for 2008 due to a heavy crash in the Tour de France last year. He crashed in the descent of the Cormet de Roselend and broke his collarbone, shoulder, five ribs and some bones around his backbone. For now the 2007 winner of Paris-Roubaix will try to look for some better form with an eye on the races to come.

Stuey will also try to do well in some stages in this years Giro as well. O’Grady has a good sprint and can do well in the middle mountains too. He was fourth times second in the battle for the green jersey in the Tour (1998, 1999, 2001 and 2005) and was one time third (2002).


Paris - Roubaix 2007: Stuart O'Grady drives on toward the last section of cobbles outside Roubaix velodrome leaving a considerable gap between him and the chasing group. Photo © Dave O'Nyons Sports Pictorial

O'Grady's Palmares are too long to list, a few highlights, he has won: two tour stages (1998 and 2004), was the best in the Tour Down Under (1999 and 2001), won the commonwealth games (2002), was Australian Champion (2003), won the HEW cyclassics in Hamburg in 2004, became Olympic Champion Madison together with Graeme Brown, won the TTT with CSC in the Vuelta in 2006 and on top of that his most beautiful win Paris Roubaix in 2007. He started out the year in 2008 with strong performances in spite of being on the road to recovery: 10th in the Tour Down Under, 8th in Gent-Wevelgem and 5th in Paris-Roubaix.

Bradley McGee
The next of the team to introduce is O’Grady's compatriot Bradley McGee. McGee turned pro in 1998 and rode his whole career for La Francaise de Jeux before joining CSC in 2008. McGee started his career as a track rider which he continues to compete in. McGee has started in all the three Grand Tours; his best result a 8th place overall in the Giro of 2004. A top 10 ranking in a Grand Tour is something Bradley still has as a goal. McGee is an excellent time-trialist and a decent climber.

He won two Tour stages thus far (2002 and 2003) and added to his pro account: stages in the Dauphine, Tour de Suisse, Romandie, Giro D’Italia and Route du Sud (he has also won the G.C. of  the Route du Sud). In the Olympic year 2004 he also became Olympic Champion Team pursuit together with Brett Lancaster, Luke Roberts and Graeme Brown.

In 2008 McGee hasn't ridden much on the road as he concentrated at the beginning of the season aiming for a berth on the Aussie Olympics team. He won the World Cup team pursuit in Los Angeles and was 3rd in the team pursuit at the World Championships in Manchester. His best results on the road thus far were 4th ranking in the prologue of Paris-Nice, a fourth place in the TTT of the Tour de Georgia and a 22nd overall in Georgia.

The announced support riders, that complete the Giro team, are Anders Lund, Michael Blaudzun, Nicki Sörensen and American Jason McCartney.

Anders Lund
For Anders Lund it’s his second year with CSC after riding for Team PH and later Team GLS as a neo pro. Lund has a good sprint and is a rider for the hillier stages. His best result in 2007 was a 3rd place in a stage of the Eneco Tour and 6th in the GP Herning. This year he was 18th in the Ronde van het Groene Hart en 17th in the GP Industria; this will be his debut in a Grand Tour.

Michael Blaudzun
Michael Blaudzun is an experienced rider who turned pro in 1995. Blaudzun isn’t a bad climber and is very valuable for a Team Time-Trial as he was part of the winning team in the TTT in Eindhoven (2006 and 2007) and the TTT in the Giro (2006). Michael is also a multiple TT and Road Champion of Denmark. He rode for teams like Novell, Rabobank and Telekom in the past. Blaudzun is no stranger to the efforts of the grand tours, having competed in all the three Grand Tours. His best result was 45th in the Tour de France of 2003.

Nicki Sörensen
Nicki Sörensen is another valuable and indispensable rider for the team. Sörensen turned pro in 1999 with Team Chicky World which is one of the precursors of Team CSC where he is has stayed since 2001. In 2003 Sörensen became Danish Road Champion and in 2005 he won a stage in the Vuelta D’Espana to Avila. In 2006 and 2007 he was part of the winning team in respectively the TTT of the Settimana Coppi & Bartali and the ProTour TTT in Eindhoven.


New to Team CSC  Jason McCartney smiles and awaits his kisses on the podium after winning Stage 14 of the 2007 Vuelta a Espana. Photo © Fotoreporter Sirotti

Jason McCartney
Last but not least we will introduce the only American in the team Jason McCartney. The 34 year old rider was born in Honolulu, Hawaii is an aggressive rider active in the breaks and shaking up the action at races. It’s McCartney first year for CSC after riding the past three years with Discovery Channel. Before his Discovery Channel period he rode for American domestic teams starting with Nutra Fig in 1999. He worked his way up the ranks through Jelly Belly, to the number one team in the USA Health Net/Maxxis before making the jump to Discovery after an impressive season with six victories. Undoubtedly Jason's most beautiful win so far was winning the 14th stage in the Vuelta D’Espana in 2007. McCartney is very valuable in the TTT as he is a good time-trialist, and a very capable climber. This will be McCartney's third Giro and with any luck he will hunt and have success for a stage win.

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