American outfit targets team time trial, bunch sprints and GC
HTC-Highroad is looking forward to returning to the upcoming Giro d'Italia, intending to repeat the kind of success it has achieved in the race over the past three seasons. The squad counts a total of eleven stage wins in the Italian Grand Tour as well as spells for their riders in the lead and best young rider competition.
"We're fielding a top quality line-up, with our first objective being the opening team time trial in Turin," commented sports director Valerio Piva.
"In the first twelve stages or so, there are four or five that look certain to end in bunch sprints and afterwards we've got Marco [Pinotti] and Kanstantsin [Sivtsov] for the overall classification, with Craig Lewis providing a lot of support for them in the mountains. Marco finished in the top ten last year, and Kanstantsin is one of the most consistent guys around when it comes to the third week of racing in a major Tour."
The team's first target will be to repeat their 2009 victory in the stage one team time trial. "It's flat, and parts of it are very technical - similar to the one in Venice in 2009. As a lot of it takes place over city roads, it could be slippery and you can't afford to take risks even if it rains just a little," Piva pointed out.
"We've got some top time trial specialists in our line-up, so I think we can be confident of a good result."
Afterwards, the squad will be looking for Cavendish to score at the fast finishes. "Italy's like a second home for Mark [Cavendish] and he's always loved the race. He's very motivated and we'll see what he can do. With the whole team to support him, and with Mark Renshaw as his lead-out man, he's going to be very difficult to beat."
The full HTC-Highroad roster for the 2011 Giro is: Lars Bak, Mark Cavendish, Patrick Gretsch, Craig Lewis, Marco Pinotti, Frantisek Rabon, Alex Rasmussen, Mark Renshaw and Kanstantsin Sivtsov.
A provisional start list for the Giro can be found here.
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