World Champion Alessandro Ballan and Damiano Cunego will lead Lampre-N.G.C's team at the Vuelta a España after the squad announced a predominantly Italian lineup for the Spanish race. The team says it will head to the Spanish Grand Tour with a view to stage wins and the upcoming World championships.
"The team that will take part in the Vuelta will be almost completely Italian, Ukrainian [Vitaliy] Buts will be the only rider from another country, and some of them will probably be in the [Italian] national team in Switzerland," said Team Manager Giuseppe Saronni. "Our aim will be to try to win stages and improve the fitness of athletes such Ballan and Cunego before the World championships."
After a lacklustre season Ballan has only recently shown a return to race-winning form. Earlier this month he won stage five at the Tour of Poland, his first victory of the season, and then claimed the overall classification as well. Like Ballan, Cunego has also struggled for results this season. The former Giro d'Italia winner has not recorded a victory since the Settimana Coppi e Bartali in March.
Both riders will be looking to impress Italian national manager Franco Ballerini when they line up alongside compatriots Emanuele Bindi, Enrico Gasparotto, Marco Marzano, Massimiliano Mori, Paolo Tiralongo and Francesco Tomei for the Vuelta's start in Assen, the Netherlands on Saturday. Vitaliy Buts has been named as the ninth member of the team.
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