The Italian season will get rolling this Saturday with the 13th GP Costa degli Etruschi – a typical sprinters' fest that takes in the wine country roads in southern Tuscany. The race starts at 10:30 from San Vincenzo and finishes 193 kilometres later in Donoratico following an 8.5-kilometre circuit that is repeated five times.
The biggest guns that will be firing will undoubtedly be Danilo Napolitano (Lampre), stage winner in Qatar, and winner of the past three editions, Alessandro Petacchi (Team Milram). Other participants lining up include home rider Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) and Damiano Cunego (Lampre).
Daniele Bennati (Liquigas) will be forced to skip the race due to ongoing knee pains.
Except for Cunego, the Giro d'Italia contenders will start their season later; Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes) starts wit the Giro della Provincia di Reggio Calabria (February 11 to 13), Gilberto Simoni (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli) in the Trofeo Laigueglia (February 23) and Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval-Scott) in the Ruta del Sol (February 17 to 21).