Gasparotto, Grivko, Davis to lead Classics charge on Sunday
Astana will head to the Tour of Flanders in an unusually rich vein of Classics form, with Andry Grivko and Enrico Gasparotto showing good condition at this week's Three Days of De Panne.
Grivko finished second overall at De Panne, thanks largely to his impressive third place effort on the race's weather-lashed stage two. Gasparotto, too, came away from the Belgian stage race with a third place finish on stage one, two days after he finished 24th on debut at Gent-Wevelgem.
Grivko, Gasparotto and Australian Allan Davis will now form the leadership group in Astana's line-up for Flanders, a race which, in the past, has not been given a great deal of priority by the Kazakh team. The squad's omission from next week's Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen means the team will head to the Flanders start in Bruges with an extra dose of motivation.
"Hopefully we can come away with a good result [at Flanders]," Davis told Cyclingnews before the start of the individual time trial at De Panne on Thursday. "We've got a few guys with pretty good form: Gasparotto, Grivko and, hopefully, myself. The team's done really well so far throughout this season so it would be nice to keep it going."
Astana's presence at the Belgian Classics so far has also far outstripped their experience. Of the team's three captains for Flanders only Davis has raced the event before, in 2008 for Pro Continental squad Mitsubishi - Jartazi. However, Gasparotto's and Grivko's respective moves away from Italian teams Lampre and ISD-Neri, have allowed them to take a closer interest in the northern Classics.
The Astana roster for Flanders will include Maxim Iglinsky, who finished seventh at Gent-Wevelgem after creating a selection of 10 riders on the Mont Noir. His brother Valentin will also join the team.
Davis will also have his brother, Scott, as a companion during the race. The elder of the two Davis brothers has been brought in to replace Assan Bazayev, who was injured in a crash during the first stage of the Three Days of De Panne on Tuesday.
Italy's Mirko Selvaggi and Kazakh Valeriy Dmitriev round out Astana's eight-man Flanders team.
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