Danilo Di Luca, the winner of the Vuelta al Paìs Vasco, and Franco Pellizotti, will lead the Liquigas-Bianchi team in the 40th Amstel Gold Race this Sunday, and the Ardennes classics next week. Di Luca is in top form, managing to beat Davide Rebellin by three seconds in Pais Vasco, and has spent the last week building up his reserves.
"I only went for some quite short rides [3-4 hours], but did 230 km training behind a motorbike last Wednesday," said Di Luca. "I had already been in top form in the Vuelta al Paìs Vasco. It would be damaging to push it after such a demanding week. I feel sure of myself as I know I have trained very well. I think I'll be in top form.
"I finished fourth last year and third in 2003. I like the finish on Cauberg. The team support will be decisive along the varied Dutch parcours. We can play two cards: Pellizotti and me. We should be careful: woe betide us if we do not pay attention on the Dutch toboggan. The most dangerous opponents? Rebellin more than any else and Boogerd too. He will be racing on home soil and knows all the tricks of the race. Also, he is in great form."
The complete Liquigas-Bianchi team is: Danilo Di Luca, Franco Pellizotti, Michael Albasini, Patrick Calcagni, Kjell Carlström, Mauro Gerosa, Nicola Loda, and Marcus Ljungqvist.