Hincapie wants stage in Missouri

Columbia-HTC well-prepared for US event

With Monday's start of the Tour of Missouri fast approaching, Columbia-HTC's eight riders for the week-long race are confident they will continue the team's winning 2009 season. Sports director Tristan Hoffman previewed his team's goals, promising that all eight of the athletes will be on the hunt for victory - especially US Pro Champion George Hincapie.

"One of his goals is to win a stage wearing his new US Champion jersey," said Hoffman.

Hincapie himself did not deny a stage victory on home turf, wearing the jersey would be appealing. "Sure, it's exciting to be back in the Stars and Stripes, racing with my team in the United States," said Hincapie. "It's a great honour and I am very motivated."

But Hoffman will not count on the US native alone. "We also bring Mark Cavendish, the world's fastest sprinter, backed by a team of experienced, highly motivated riders and we have great expectations," he continued. "There should be lots of opportunities for bunch sprints, and of course we will take full advantage.

"[Australian Time Trial Champion] Michael Rogers is eager and really well prepared He had a good showing in the Giro d'Italia and Eneco Tour, and is even stronger now," Hoffman continued. "And it's always something special for our team to race in the United States, since our home base is here in California. We have every chance of getting some great results in Missouri."

The full Columbia-HTC line-up for the Tour of Missouri is: Michael Barry, Mark Cavendish, Bernhard Eisel, George Hincapie, Craig Lewis, Marco Pinotti, Michael Rogers and Kanstantsin Sivtsov.

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