courtesy Bianchi .
Liquigas-Bianchi are ready for the 2006 season with 28 riders managed by Dario Mariuzzo, Mario Scirea, Stefano Zanatta, and Mario Chiesa.
The Team retains its basic shape with 18 riders remaining in the Green and Celeste kit: Michael Albasini, Dario Andriotto, Magnus Backstedt, Patrick Calcagni, Kjell Carlström, Dario-David Cioni, Daniele Colli, Danilo Di Luca, Stefano Garzelli, Enrico Gasparotto, Nicola Loda, Vladimir Miholjevic, Marco Milesi, Matej Mugerli, Andrea Noe', Franco Pellizotti, Marco Righetto and Charles Wegelius.
In addition there are 6 interesting signings from other teams : Francesco Failli (Naturino-Sapore di Mare) who finished 2nd in the Giorni Marchigiana / Gp Fred Mengoni this year ahead of Di Luca himself, Vincenzo Nibali (Fassa Bortolo) he had a good day when Chris Horner won in Arosa on the 6th stage of the Tour de Suisse. Nibali held on for second spot and held off the chasing group which included Rogers,Schleck,Piepoli and Ullrich.
Luca Paolini (Quick Step) needs no introduction. Paolo Bettini’s legendary right hand man has decided for a change of scene . Double Stage winner in the Tour of Britain this year Paolini’s greatest moment came when both he and team mate Pozzato crossed the finish line together in the HEW CyClassics in Hamburg. The camera recorded Pozzato to have the victory, but no-one doubts Paolini’s great ability not only as a team player de lux but also more than capable in one day and week stage races at the very highest quality.
An Italian riding for a Spanish Team Manuel Quinziato (Saunier Duval-Prodir), had his best day in the USA this year, where he finished second in the sprint finish into Rome, behind Peter Wrolich but just ahead of little known Discovery rider Lance Armstrong .
Talking to , first lady of the pave, Karen Lambrecht, before the start of last season Quinziato revealed his love of the one day classics and when asked which was his favourite replied -
The Tour of Flanders, the crowd along the parcours is fantastic! I like the race, if you want to win you have to be good from the first kilometre till the last one. Also the tactics are very important, not only being in good shape.
Alessandro Spezialetti (Lampre-Caffita), is a rider well known to Di Luca, the pair rode together way back in 1998 when DiLuca was a neo pro at Riso Scotti. They rode together with Cantina Tollo in 2001 and then spent three seasons together with Saeco..
The 30-year-old, who has been a pro since 1997, has one sole victory to his name, in the Giro d'Abruzzo, where he won a stage in 2001.
Stefano Zanini (Quick Step) is another rider who needs no introduction. One of the best lead out men in the peloton, Stefano is becoming one of the older statesmen in the peloton. Born in January 1969, he has been a pro since 1991. Over this long career he has 31 victories, his last being in Manchester in the 2004 Tour of Britain.
His wealth of experience will no doubt be of use to the four neo pros who finish off the Liquigas Bianchi squad for 2006; they are Eros Capecchi, Alberto Curtolo, Mauro Da Dalto and Roman Kreuziger.
Eros Capecchi and Roman Kreuziger know each other very well. In the Junior Road Race Championships in Verona Capechi was the red hot favourite but it was Kreuziger who proved the best man on the day although it was the African rider Chtioui who got the most headlines.
Alberto Curtolo demonstrates the international flavour of cycle racing having won in Brazil and Berlin this year. Mauro Da Dalto of the Liquigas feeder club Marchiol-Ima-Famila, is a good man against the clock
Leaving the squad are; Mauro Gerosa, Marcus Ljungqvist ( to CSC) Oscar Mason,Luciano A.Pagliarini Mendonca (to Saunier Duvall) , Gianluca Sironi and most surprising of all Marco Zanotti.
courtesy Bianchi .
Backstedt and the Hour
In just one week 30-year-old Liquigas-Bianchi rider, Swede Magnus Backstedt will try to beat the Derny Paced Hour Record hold by Dutch Matthé Pronk: 66,114 km. The attempt will take place on the Welsh track of the Newport Velodrome.
The 2004 Paris-Roubaix winner is confident: «I am in peak form. Derny paced trainings go on well (at an average of two hours per day) and by now I perfectly agree with the pacer (the derny "pilot" – Editor's Note), British Paul Spender. Managing energies in the sixty minutes and psychological endurance will be decisive: the support of the public could be determining».
On a technical point of view, Backstedt is concentrating on acquiring the ideal pace rhythm with respect to his characteristics: «I think that recordman Pronk has developed a frequency of 140 pushes on the pedal per minute, while I manage to maintain 135 pushes in a half an hour. My physical features urged me to count on power rather than agility». So Backstedt could use a front crown from 58 to 60 cogs and the 13 ratio gear as for back spockets.
After the record attempt, Backstedt could take part in one or two six days' races «but rigorously before Christmas», the Liquigas-Bianchi's giant underlines, «and on a long track suiting to my characteristics». Backstedt doesn't rule out even the possibility to challenge Ondrej Sosenka's Hour Record: «I like this idea but it will depend on the result of the Newport's enterprise».