Danish Team CSC is lining up at the Giro d'Italia full of hopes for some good results. Indeed, sports director Kim Andersen is confident his riders (Michael Blaudzun, Gustav Larsson, Anders Lund, Jason McCartney, Bradley McGee, Stuart O'Grady, Nicki Sørensen, Chris Anker Sørensen and Jens Voigt) will bring home several victories.
"We have a good stable line-up with riders who're certainly capable of creating some exciting moments in this race," he said. "Not that I'm expecting us to win the entire Giro, but I definitely think we'll be able to make our mark on a lot of the stages, as well as be part of a lot of the breaks and maybe win a couple of stages."
Andersen also revealed that Team CSC has a special focus on the first stage of the three-week race, this upcoming Saturday. "I have a dream of winning the team time trial, which is the first stage," he added.
The Danish team managed by Bjarne Riis has enrolled several young hopefuls in the event this year. Andy Schleck, who took a surprising second place last year as well as the white Best Young Rider's Jersey, is not part of the Giro line-up in 2008. Still, it remains one of the squad's main objectives.
"Gustav Larsson and Chris Anker Sørensen will both be trying for the overall result and I definitely think Chris has a chance in the youth competition," commented Andersen. "But we'll have to wait and see which of our young talents prove the strongest in the long run."
Chris Anker Sørensen himself was cautious, even though his 19th place in last year's Vuelta a España provides a certain indication of his capabilities in a Grand Tour. The 23 year-old feared that his rivals could be hard competition. "The peloton seems stronger here in the Giro than in the Vuelta, but on the other hand I'll get entirely free hands here," he said. "My goal is to make the top 20 and while I'm out there battling for a good overall result of course I'll also have my eye on the White Jersey, but off the top of my head I think Riccardo Ricco (Saunier Duval) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) will be extremely hard to beat."
Several team's expectations and tactics for the race probably changed not long ago, when Giro organisers invited the Kazakh-backed formation of Astana at the very last minute. With three Grand Tour specialists in its ranks (Alberto Contador, Andreas Klöden and Levi Leipheimer), the squad seems very competitive on paper.
"I don't think it's an advantage for us because [the race] might be more predictable with Astana participating," added Andersen. "We would like to try and open up the race as much as possible with aggressive tactics in order to win some stages and we'll still attempt to do so."