Milan San Remo Preview
Full team listings, the favourites and last minute team news. So who will win the Primavera?
All being well Mario Cipollini will start the Milan San Remo on Saturday.
"He will not be in the best possible shape, but he will ride," confirmed Mr. Salutini, after a short training ride of two hours by his road captain. Super Mario, suffering from intestinal problems since the last stage of Tirreno-Adriatico, had announced on Thursday on his Internet site that he would not take part in the Primavera.
If Super Mario is not up to full form, Perdiguero might be the man to take over.
Team: Mario Cipollini (Ita), Daniele Bennati (Ita), Miguel A.Martin Perdiguero (Spa), Martin Derganc (Slo), Giovanni Lombardi (Ita), Francesco Secchiari (Ita), Alberto Ongarato (Ita), Mario Scirea (Ita).
The French team put their faith in veteran Laurent Brochard.
Team: Laurent Brochard (Fra), Lauri Aus (Est), Alexandre Botcharov (Rus), Andy Flickinger (Fra), Christophe Oriol (Fra), Mikel Asterloza Chaurreau (Spa), Mark Scanlon (Irl), Ludovic Turpin (Fra).
Fabio Baldato and fellow veteran Andrea Ferrigato lead the Alessio team, while riders like Pellizotti and Noè will be looking to get into the early break.
Team: Fabio Baldato (Ita), Enrico Cassani (Ita), Laurent Dufaux (Swi), Andrea Ferrigato (Ita), Ruslan Ivanov (Mda), Ruggero Marzoli (Ita), Franco Pellizotti (Ita), Andrea Noè (Ita).
In form Giuliano Figueras should not be discounted from the favourites list.
Team: Giuliano Figueras (Ita), Luca Mazzanti (Ita), Paolo Tiralongo (Ita), Sergiy Matveyev (Ukr), Brett Lancaster (Aus), Claudio Bartoli (Ita), Scott Davis (Aus), Paolo Lanfranchi (Ita).
The team in mourning would not seem to have the sprinting strength to make a show, David Millar may well disagree with that view.
Team: Dimitri Fofonov (Kaz), Massimiliano Lelli (Ita), Angelo Lopeboselli (Ita), David Millar (GBr),
Guido Trentin (Ita), Philippe Gaumont (Fra), Nico Mattan (Bel), Jo Planckaert (Bel).
Stuart O’Grady believes he is the best form he’s ever had for the opening World Cup round.
“I’m feeling pretty good and I had a reasonable Paris-Nice,” said
O’Grady who was 4th in the prologue and claimed the race
lead after a third place on the first stage.
“The whole race (Milan - San Remo) is basically decided on the last two climbs but they are not for pure climbers, more for the strong men who can get over the top at the front,” O’Grady explained. “Then it’s usually the fastest one out of the group at the finish.
“This race has been high on my hit list for several years and this year my form is better and I’m climbing better so a good result is a big objective,” said O’Grady who acknowledges his national champion’s green and gold jersey has inspired him this season.
“There’s a lot of pride and honour attached to wearing the national champions jersey,” he joked after wining
the title in January that he hoped the success enjoyed by compatriot Robbie McEwen, who as the previous champion claimed the most wins of any professional cyclist in 2002, would rub off on him.
“You really want to go and show everyone you’re a worthy winner and at the top end of sport it’s little things that can give you a one or two percent advantage that make a big difference.”
The difference has already been demonstrated this season with O’Grady eighth in the international rankings for 2003
performances. Ten other Australians riding in seven professional teams will contest the race including McEwen who has been preparing for the World Cup opener at home in Belgium.
Credit Agricole's Thor Hushovd will not take part in Milan-San Rémo. He abandoned at Paris Nice at the Faron stage - he is very tired and is over-trained. Eric Leblacher will replace him in Saturday's race
Team: Cédric Fragnière (Swi), Stéphane Augé (Fra), Eric Leblacher (Fra), Christopher Jenner (Fra), Mads Kaggestad (Nor), Yohan Charpenteau (Fra), Stuart O'Grady (Aus), Corey Sweet (Aus).
Team: Michele Colleoni (Ita), Graziano Gasparre (Ita), Leonardo Giordani (Ita), Michele Gobbi (Ita), Serhiy Honchar (Ukr), Devis Miorin (Ita), Giuseppe Palumbo (Ita), Leonardo Zanotti (Ita).
Filippo Pozzato: "What does it mean that I won Tirreno Adriatico? Nothing. I rode that race to gain experience, not to win. Our Fassa team has a leader - Petacchi." Pippo will compete at the Milan Sanremo tomorrow. While Pettachi who withdrew from the Paris Nice sick should be back to his best form. Bartoli makes a welcome return to the Primavera.
Team: Michele Bartoli (Ita), Serguei Ivanov (Rus), Kim Kirchen (Lux), Alessandro Petacchi (Ita),
Roberto Petito (Ita), Filippo Pozzato (Ita), Matteo Tosatto (Ita), Guido Trenti (Ita).
Marc Madiot is convinced that his team and Baden Cooke can win this race, he has been training specially for it and no doubt Jacky Durand will provide an early break to give the FdJeux team a tow to the final crucial 50 kilometres.
Team: Baden Cooke (Aus), Jacky Durand (Fra), Bernhard Eisel (Aut), Régis Lhuillier (Fra), Bradley Wiggins (GBr), Matthew Wilson (Aus), Carlos Dacruz (Fra), David Derepas (Fra).
Bring a very strong team to help Captain Rebellin; Austrian champion Hasselbacher, Lang and Pollack would seem ideal lead out men while experienced Udo Bölts is an ideal man to direct the team.
Team: René Haselbacher (Aut), Sebastian Lang (Ger), Olaf Pollack (Ger), Udo Bölts (Ger), Davide Rebellin (Ita), Fabian Wegmann (Ger), Peter Wrolich (Aut), Markus Zberg (Swi).
Never really a team for the Classics however the presence of Evgueni Petrov may cause a few surprises
Team: Juan A.Flecha Giannoni (Spa), José A.Lopez Gil (Spa), Rafael Mateos Perez (Spa), Javier Pascual Rodriguez (Spa), Evgueni Petrov (Rus), Leonardo Piepoli (Ita), Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa), Aitor Osa Eizaguirre (Spa).
The Poggio is a hill, but not as Kelme understand them! The reduced team will be riding for Isaac Galvez Lopez
Team: Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa), Isaac Galvez Lopez (Spa), Jordi Riera Valls (Spa),
José E.Gutierrez Cataluna (Spa), Julian Usano Martinez (Spa), Ignacio Gutierrez Cataluna (Spa).
Have a strong, experienced team and Jan Svorada has been in form recently -
Team: Alessandro Cortinovis (Ita), Gabriele Missaglia (Ita), Mariano Piccoli (Ita), Raimondas Rumsas Ltu), Maximilian Sciandri (GBr), Zbignew Spruch (Pol), Jan Svorada (Cze).
Strong Ukrainian presence, though the man most likely to win for the team is the one Italian in the squad, Lorenzo Bernucci.
Team: Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr), Lorenzo Bernucci (Ita), Sergiy Adyeyev (Ukr), Vladimir Duma (Ukr), Ruslan Gryshenko (Ukr), Yuri Mitlushenko (Ukr), Mikhail Timochine (Rus), Johan Verstrepen (Bel).
Love or hate him, Robbie McEwen is one of the fastest men on two wheels - if there is the expected sprint finish he will be amongst the top men.
Team: Robbie McEwen (Aus), Rik Verbrugghe (Bel), Aart Vierhouten (Ned), Leon Van Bon (Ned), Hans De Clercq (Bel), Wim Vansevenant (Bel), Koos Moerenhout (Ned).
Don’t forget that young Ozzie Allan Davies has already beaten both Zabel and Bettini in a sprint this year (Challenge Illes Balears - Stage 3) - there is a possibility in this race of an all Australian podium.
Team: René Andrle (Cze), Gianpaolo Caruso (Ita), Allan Davis (Aus), Rafael Diaz Justo (Spa), Xavier Florencio Cabré (Spa), Isidro Nozal Vega (Spa), Jan Hruska (Cze), Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa).
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Solid team from the Swiss boys and Strazzer is fast on his day...
Team: Denis Bertolini (Ita), Oscar Camenzind (Swi), Martin Elminger (Swi), Roger Beuchat (Swi), Bert Grabsch (Ger), Alexandre Moos (Swi), Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa), Massimo Strazzer (Ita).
Bettini goes into the race as one of the big favourites and the Quickstep team have already shown themselves more than capable of living up to their reputation. Last year Betinni’s attack on the Poggio just failed; this year it might be different again. Will be very interesting to see how Boonen and Vandenbroucke respond. Richard Virenque may see the race from a totally different viewpoint!
Team: Paolo Bettini (Ita), Tom Boonen (Bel), Davide Bramati (Ita), Bram Tankink (Ned), Luca Paolini (Ita), Michael Rogers (Aus), Frank VandenBroucke (Bel), Richard Virenque (Fra).
Super strong team, who will be riding for one purpose - to get Oscar Freire over the line first. With on song Bram de Groot riding shotgun for Freire, and with a world class team in support, Freire could well be the first Spaniard since legendary Spanish Sprinter Miguel Poblet to win the race. Of course, Poblet won in 1959 before the introduction of the Poggio, which maybe Friere’s Achilles heel. Freire’s big concern is an attack by Di Luca or Bettini on the Poggio, which may be de Groot's chance to cause a huge surprise.
Team: Bram de Groot (Ned), Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa), Marc Wauters (Bel), Beat Zberg (Swi), Jan Boven (Ned), Marc Lotz (Ned), Robert Hunter (Rsa), Karsten Kroon (Ned).
Another very strong team and Di Luca is clearly in confident mood - Astarloa, Pieri, Sacchi - the team is full of class and fight. One of the favourites for the race with very good reasons.
Team: Igor Astarloa Askasibar (Spa), Mirko Celestino (Ita), Alexandr Shefer (Kaz), Danilo Di Luca(Ita), Paolo Fornaciari (Ita), Dario Pieri (Ita), Fabio Sacchi (Ita).
Fred Rodriguez was second last year, yet this year the bookies are not even listing him. Curious. Balducci and Baldato are a classic double classic act. Vainsteins has won the odd race and Apollonio can be fearsome in full flight. If the race stays together Fast Freddy is worth a bet at the odds he is getting.
Team: Gabriele Balducci (Ita), Gianluca Bortolami (Ita), Paolo Bossoni (Ita), Massimo Apollonio (Ita),
Marco Milesi (Ita), Fred Rodriguez (Usa), Gianluca Sironi (Ita), Romans Vainsteins (Lat).
Owing to recent suspension, very difficult to see how the team can be race fit -
Team: Stefan Adamsson (Swe), Niki Aebersold (Swi), André Korff (Ger), Steffen Radochla (Ger),
Fabrizio Guidi (Ita), Daniel Becke (Ger), Thomas Liese (Ger), Thorsten Wilhelms (Ger).
Lars Michaelsen’s injury was a disaster for Riis - “Lars would have been one of the key-riders in the spring classics and he will be missed. Hopefully, he will make a speedy recovery, and we will do our utmost to make his comeback as easy as possible”, Bjarne said at the time. Tafi will come into his own in later races - Nicolas Jalabert will have a go and Blaudzun will probably typify the team's model professional approach.
Team: Michael Blaudzun (Den), Lennie Kristensen (Den), Julian Dean (NZl), Jakob Piil Strom (Den), Nicolas Jalabert (Fra), Paul van Hyfte (Bel), Andrea Peron (Ita), Andrea Tafi (Ita).
Alexandre Vinokourov, last Sunday's winner of Paris-Nice, will return to action on Saturday with Erik Zabel, in Milan-Sanremo, the first round of the World Cup. Vino’s place in the team had been in doubt due to the upset he felt following the tragic death of Kivilev during the Paris Nice race.
Zabel, four times winner in Sanremo (1997, 1998, 2000 and 2001), brings a very strong team to back his bid for a fifth victory which includes the Italian Gianmatteo Fagnini as his lead out man. Last year a crash on the Cipressa climb, 40 kilometres from the finish, ruined Zabel's chances of competing in the final sprint.
Team: Erik Zabel, Rolf Aldag, Kai Hundertmarck, Matthias Kessler, Jan Schaffrath and Steffen Wesemann (Ger), Gianmatteo Fagnini (Ita), Alexandre Vinokourov (Kzk).
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A team suffering injury and sickness problems, amplified by their short team rosta of just twenty riders. No matter, Pena and Max van Heeswijk are in top form and Joachim has been very solid. Never discount “Mad Max.”
Team: Antonio Cruz (Usa), Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus), Benoît Joachim (Lux), Guennadi Mikhailov (Rus), Victor Hugo Pena Grisales (Col), Max van Heeswijk (Ned), Matthew White (Aus).