Saturday, June 25, 2011
Liquigas-Cannondale Announces Tour de France Team
"We’ve got an intense month ahead but our competitive spirit will overcome any difficulties." This is how Liquigas-Cannondale team manager Roberto Amadio today launched the challenge for the Tour de France, which starts on Saturday, 2nd July.
"I expect the team to be tough, gutsy and determined to compete as a main contender in what is one of the most important races in the world," Amadio continued. "This is the role that Liquigas-Cannondale can and must play. Everyone knows the goals: do the race justice day after day and aim for the best possible result in the general classification. With a captain like Ivan Basso we know we’ve got a real shot at the podium and the yellow jersey. Contador and Andy Schleck have proved they’re the strongest but Ivan has just as much experience and class. He hasn’t been able to perform to his full potential until now though due to physical problems and injuries. But I’m convinced Ivan, and his teammates, will treat us to a world-class performance during the Tour."
The job of captain and team leader goes to Ivan Basso, while the team’s two directeurs sportifs, Stefano Zanatta and Dario Mariuzzo, have selected eight teammates who can provide invaluable support in every phase of the race and also chase down a stage win if and when the opportunity arises: Italians Daniel Oss, Alessandro Vanotti, Paolo Longo Borghini and Fabio Sabatini; the Polish trio of Sylwester Szmyd, Maciej Bodnar and Maciej Paterski; and the young Slovenian rider Kristijan Koren.
"You need athletic strength and an incredible spirit of sacrifice to race in the Tour de France," said Zanatta. "That’s why we have chosen a group of riders in optimum physical condition who are ready to give everything they’ve got every day to support Basso and to fight for victory. We’ve got a group of youngsters like Oss, Koren, Bodnar, Paterski and Sabatini who are itching to make their mark and also guarantee us a sound level of experience. Vanotti and Longo Borghini are seasoned racers who know how to move within the group and manage even the trickiest situations. Szmyd offers added value and will work with Basso on the tougher climbs: when we’re tackling the decisive stages and the group splits up, his help will be crucial for Ivan."
Photo: Ivan Basso, team leader
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