Bettini returns to racing at Tirreno-Adriatico

While Quick Step's Tom Boonen looks for more stage wins at Paris-Nice, the team's 'Italian arm' will...

While Quick Step's Tom Boonen looks for more stage wins at Paris-Nice, the team's 'Italian arm' will campaign at Tirreno-Adriatico from Wednesday, with Paolo Bettini heading the line-up for the race between the seas.

Bettini has been training after the Omloop Het Volk and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. "This past week of training has been really useful for me in getting back on form," he said "I'll be taking Tirreno-Adriatico a day at a time hoping for weather conditions that enable me to perfect myself in sight of the Milan-Sanremo."

Bettini himself, then, won't be targeting Tirreno-Adriatico. "We've got a team full of riders that are more than able to do well in the race," he said. "For example Nick Nuyens who recently won the Omloop Het Volk. He certainly could be one of the protagonists at the Tirreno-Adriatico."

Nuyens isn't looking at the general classification though. "I've got a good feeling and my legs are working well," he said after a three-hour training ride yesterday. "There are a few stages of the Tirreno-Adriatico that are suited to riders like me. I'll not be thinking about the general classifications but I'll definitely be aiming for a stage win. The Tirreno is my first ProTour race and I'd like to leave my mark."

Filippo Pozzato will also line up with Quick-Step in Civitavecchia on Wednesday. "I've been slowly getting better over the past few days," said Pozzato of the respiratory infection that has dogged his early season. "Thankfully the cough I had has gone. I'm not on 100 percent form - I'm missing the race rhythm, but I'm improving".

However, the team's other Italian hopeful, Luca Paolini, will miss Tirreno-Adriatico because of a knee inflammation. Paolini is undergoing physiotherapy for the problem in his right knee that flared up last week and is taking seven days off to allow it to heal.

Quick Step for Tirreno-Adriatico: Paolo Bettini, Davide Bramati, Wilfried Cretskens, Servais Knaven, Cristian Moreni, Nick Nuyens, Filippo Pozzato and Stefano Zanini.

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