Clasica San Sebastian
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Paolo Bettini (Quick Step-Davitamon) is once again the bookmakers favourite for Saturday’s Clasica San Sebastian. The winner of Milan-San Remo and last week's Hew Cyclassics Cup arrives at the race in great form with a team of the highest calibre to back, not only his bid for victory, but also to take the lead in the World Cup from Peter Van Petegem, who is clearly not suited to the course.
Winner in 1997 Davide Rebellin is the bookies' second favourite. Rebellin had a fall in this week's GP Citta di Camaiore but fortunately he suffered only minor injuries. The Gerolsteiner team looks well equiped to support him and includes Udo Bölts. himself a winner of the race in 1996.
Francesco Casagrande is rated at 10/1 by the bookies and the former double winner of the race is ideally suited to cause the maximum disruption on the Jaizkibel. Belli and Serpellini will be in support of the Lampre man and it's good to see Max Sciandri back in the peloton after a season ruined by sickness and injury so far.
The strongest team, both individually and collectively, is without doubt the famous red shirts of Saeco. With Igor Astarloa in excellent form, the man from Ermua, Spain, has great support from other highly favoured riders, Mirko Celestino (ITA) and the “killer” Danilo Di Luca (ITA). Expect to see Marius Sabaliauskas do a great supporting ride on the penultimate climb.
The future's bright and it could well be Orange. No surprise that Euskatel throw in their Tour heavyweights Iban Mayo Diez and Haimar Zubeldia in an attempt to win their local race. With roadside support and high morale (Euskatel finding themselves as the most stable of Spanish teams at the present time) expect the Orange boys to be amongst those in the moves on Saturday.
Alexandre Vinokourov is having a truly amazing season. The course would seem ideal to his riding style, which is why he is highly rated at 12-1. The only doubt is if he has made a full recovery from the Tour de France; if so, he has the team and the ability to rip the field asunder.
Fassa Bortolo are also looking very strong with a powerful trio heading affairs; Ivan Basso, Michele Bartoli and Aïtor Gonzalez will be looking to futher cement the team's position as number 1 in the UCI rankings.
Carlos Sastre will lead the CSC team in place of Tyler Hamilton and the Danish team rarely have a poor race. While Michael Boogerd is also suited to the course and knows a good performance here will put him right back in contention for the World Cup.
Garzelli may also fancy his chances, provided his throat problem is under control prior to his Autumn operation.
George Hincapie leads a US Postal squad that will start one man short. After last week's efforts Matthew White would seem likely to be the right hand man, but possibly the Jaizkibel is a hill too many for this Postal squad.
José-Antonio Pecharroman has been this season's big revelation, and on home soil it would be foolish to dismiss his chances; the Bookmakers think so too and make him 21/1.
BETTINI Paolo (ITA - QSD) 6.00
REBELLIN Davide (ITA - GST) 8.00
CASAGRANDE Francesco (ITA - LAM) 10.00
ASTARLOA Igor (SPA - SAE) 10.00
MAYO Iban(SPA - EUS) 12.00
VINOKOUROV Alexandre (KAZ - TEL) 12.00
BOOGERD Michael (NED - RAB) 14.00
BARTOLI Michele (ITA - FAS) 14.00
DI LUCA Danilo (ITA - SAE) 14.00
CELESTINO Mirko (ITA - SAE) 16.00
BASSO Ivan (ITA - FAS) 16.00
GARZELLI Stefano (ITA - SID) 16.00
SASTRE C. Carlos (SPA - CSC) 16.00
HINCAPIE George (USA - USP) 18.00
PECHARROMAN José Antonio (SPA - ALM) 21.00
ZUBELDIA Haimar (SPA - EUS) 21.00
Ag2r Prévoyance: Mikel Astarloza (ESP), Stéphane Bergès (FRA), Alexandre Botcharov (RUS), Laurent Brochard (FRA), Iñigo Chaurreau (ESP), Christophe Oriol (FRA), Nicolas Portal (FRA), Ludovic Turpin (FRA)
Alessio: Alessandro Bertolini (ITA), Pietro Caucchioli (ITA), Laurent Dufaux (SUI), Raffaele Ferrara (ITA), Andrea Ferrigato (ITA), Vladimir Miholjevic (CRO), Andrea Noe (ITA), Franco Pellizotti (ITA)
Cofidis: Daniel Atienza (ESP), Peter Farazijn (BEL), Bingen Fernandez (ESP), Massimiliano Lelli (ITA), Nico Mattan (BEL), David Millar (GBR), David Moncoutié (FRA), Luis Perez (ESP)
Crédit Agricole: Stéphane Augé (FRA), Pierrick Fédrigo (FRA), Lilian Jégou (FRA), Marcus Ljungqvist (SUE), Christophe Moreau (FRA), Benoît Poilvet (FRA), Corey Sweet (AUS), Yan Tournier (FRA)
CSC: Manuel Calvente (ESP), Peter Luttenberger (Aut), Nicolas Jalabert (FRA), Andrea Peron (ITA), Jakob Piil (DAN), Lennie Kristensen (Den), Carlos Sastre (ESP), Nicki Sörensen (DAN)
Domina Vacanze-Elitron: Massimiliano Gentili (ITA), Massimo Giunti (ITA), Santos Gonzalez (ESP), Alexander Kolobnev (RUS), Ruben Lobato (ESP), Miguel-Angel Martin-Perdiguero (ESP), Michele Scarponi (ITA), Filippo Simeoni (ITA)
Euskaltel-Euskadi: David Etxebarria (ESP), Unaï Etxebarria (VEN), Iker Flores (ESP), Roberto Laiseka (ESP), Alberto Lopez de Munain (ESP), Alberto Martinez (ESP), Iban Mayo (ESP), Haimar Zubeldia (ESP)
Fassa Bortolo: Ivan Basso (ITA), Michele Bartoli (ITA), Aïtor Gonzalez (ESP), Kim Kirchen (LUX), Marzio Bruseghin , Filippo Pozzato (ITA), Matteo Tosatto (ITA), Tadej Valjavec (SLO).
Gerolsteiner: Udo Bölts (ALL), Gianni Faresin (ITA), Ellis Rastelli (ITA), Davide Rebellin (ITA), Georg Totschnig (AUT), Gerhard Trampusch (AUT), Fabian Wegmann (ALL), Markus Zberg (SUI)
iBanesto.com: José-Luis Arrieta (ESP), Juan-Antonio Flecha (ESP), Pablo Lastras (ESP), Francisco Mancebo (ESP), Denis Menchov (RUS), Juan-Miguel Mercado (ESP), Leonardo Piepoli (ITA), Xabier Zandio (ESP)
Kelme-Costa Blanca: Adolfo Garcia-Quesada (ESP), Carlos Garcia-Quesada (ESP), David Latasa (ESP), David Muñoz (ESP), Ivan Parra (COL), Javier Pascual-Llorente (ESP), Oscar Sevilla (ESP), Alejandro Valverde (ESP)
Labarca 2-Cafés Baqué: Francisco Cerezo (ESP), César Garcia-Calvo (ESP), Francisco Gutierrez (ESP), Aïtor Kintana (ESP), David Lopez (ESP), Leonardo Navarrete (ESP), Gustavo Otero (ESP), Ricardo Serrano (ESP)
Lampre: Sergio Barbero (ITA), Wladimir Belli (ITA), Francesco Casagrande (ITA), Gabriele Missaglia (ITA), Eddy Ratti (ITA), Max Sciandri (GBR), Marco Serpellini (ITA), Francisco Vila (ESP)
Lotto-Domo: Serge Baguet (BEL), Christophe Brandt (BEL), Leif Hoste (BEL), Axel Merckx (BEL), Koos Moerenhout (PBS), Léon Van Bon (PBS), Peter Van Petegem (BEL) Rik Verbrugghe (BEL)
ONCE-Eroski: José Azevedo (POR), Angel Castresana (ESP), Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (ESP), Jan Hruska (TCH), Jörg Jaksche (ALL), Isidro Nozal (ESP), Mikel Pradera (ESP), Marcos Serrano (ESP)
Paternina-Costa de Almeria: Rafael Casero (ESP), Pedro Diaz-Lobato (ESP), Jorge Ferrio (ESP), José-Antonio Garrido (ESP), Joaquin Lopez (ESP), José-Antonio Pecharroman (ESP), Domingo Segado (ESP), Carlos Torrent (ESP)
Phonak: Niki Aebersold (SUI), Gonzalo Bayarri (ESP), Oscar Camenzind (SUI), Juan-Carlos Dominguez (ESP), Alexandre Moos (SUI), Oscar Pereiro (ESP), Santiago Perez (ESP), Alex Zülle (SUI)
Quick Step-Davitamon: Paolo Bettini (ITA), David Cañada (ESP), Pedro Horillo (ESP), Luca Paolini (ITA), Jurgen van Goolen (Bel), Patrik Sinkewitz (ALL), Luca Bramati (Ita), Richard Virenque (FRA)
Rabobank: Michael Boogerd (PBS), Bram De Groot (PBS), Maarten Den Bakker (PBS), Oscar Freire (ESP), Karsten Kroon (PBS), Beat Zberg (Swi), Grischa Niermann (ALL), Michael Rasmussen (DAN)
Relax-Fuenlabrada: Santiago Blanco (ESP), Nacor Burgos (ESP), Josep Jufre (ESP), Oscar Laguna (ESP), José-Manuel Maestre (ESP), David Navas (ESP), Benjamin Noval (ESP), José-Luis Rebollo (ESP)
Team Bianchi: Angel Casero (ESP), Félix Garcia-Casas (ESP), Aïtor Garmendia ESP), David Plaza (ESP), Thorsten Rund (ALL), Raphael Schweda (ALL), Sven Teutenberg (ALL)
Team Saeco: Igor Astarloa (ESP), Salvatore Commesso (ITA), Mirko Celestino (ITA), Andrea Tonti (ITA), Danilo Di Luca (ITA), Marius Sabaliauskas (LIT), Alessandro Spezialetti (ITA), Juan Fuentes,
Telekom: Mario Aerts (BEL), Bobby Julich (Usa)
Giuseppe Guerini (ITA), Matthias Kessler (ALL), Daniele Nardello (ITA), Sergei Yakovlev (Kaz) , Alexandre Vinokourov (KAZ), Steffen Wesemann (ALL)
US Postal-Berry Floor: Michael Barry (CAN), Viatcheslav Ekimov (RUS), George Hincapie (USA), Benoît Joachim (LUX), Gennadi Mikhailov (RUS), Pavel Padrnos (TCH), Matthew White (Aus)
Vini Caldirola-So.Di: Paolo Bossoni (ITA), David De La Fuente (ESP), Stefano Garzelli (ITA), Mauro Gerosa (ITA), Andrej Hauptmann (SLO), Oscar Mason (ESP), Eddy Mazzoleni (ITA), Romans Vainsteins (LET)