Swedish giant Magnus Bäckstedt, who won Paris-Roubaix in 2004, will captain the Liquigas-Bianchi team in the 60th Vuelta a España. Bäckstedt is about to ride the Spanish Grand Tour for the first time: "I love Spain for its landscapes and its weather: I'm glad about riding my first Vuelta."
Bäckstedt hasn't had an ideal lead up though: "During the Tour de France I was suffering from bronchitis that forced me to withdraw from the race, to take two courses of antibiotics, and even to stop riding altogether for 20 days. I think I have trained hard in spite of the setbacks. I'm lacking racing rhythm but I felt good during training in the last few days . I expect to be competitive already in the first week. I'm going to get in a breakaway as soon as the legs are alright. As for the bunch sprints, I will have many well known rivals but I'm not going to hold back at all."
Liquigas-Bianchi is an international mix, featuring riders coming from Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, England, and Slovenia. "We are a complete group and are certainly able to aim at more than one stage win," team manager Stefano Zanatta said. "We are likely to show ourselves both in the bunch sprints, with Bäckstedt and Zanotti, and in the breaks. On the climbs, we will follow young riders Mugerli and Wegelius with interest. There isn't one stated leader: we are going to ride with courage and imagination."
Full team roster: Magnus Bäckstedt, Patrick Calcagni, Mauro Gerosa, Marcus Ljungqvist, Oscar Mason, Devis Miorin, Matej Mugerli, Charles Wegelius, Marco Zanotti. Team directors: Stefano Zanatta, Dario Mariuzzo.