Katusha team to check out Giro d'Italia stages

Team Katusha has set aside next Monday, February 23 and Tuesday, February 24 to visit the roads that...

Team Katusha has set aside next Monday, February 23 and Tuesday, February 24 to visit the roads that will be part of two stages in the Giro d'Italia coming up in May.

The team will check out stage 19 which will run 164km from Avellino to Vesuvio as well as stage 21, the final, 15.3km individual time trial in Rome.

Filippo Pozzato and his teammates will reconnoitre key details while training, and Pozzato said he is looking forward to rediscovering his passion for time trialing, a discipline he often enjoyed during the early years of his career.

Wegmann and Knees to lead Milram at Haut Var

Team Milram is looking forward to its first-ever start in the Tour du Haut Var on February 21-22. Directeur Sportif Vittorio Algeri will take eight riders to southern France, including all-arounder Christian Knees and two-time German National Champion Fabian Wegmann.

For 2009 the one-day race has changed its format. For the first time, the champion will be crowned after two stages and 365km. The first will cover 181km from Saint-Raphael to Grimaud while the second will go 194km in Callian in southeastern France.

"This is a challenging race with many climbs. We are sending our all-arounders, so that they can find their racing rhythm," said Gerry van Gerwen, manager of Team Milram.

"That is especially important in light of the upcoming first big races of the season, such as Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico and of course Milano-Sanremo. Nevertheless, it is still our priority to be at the front in every race, so we will present ourselves that way in the Tour Haut Var."

Since the race was begun in 1969, only one German has ever won the Tour du Haut Var: Rolf Gölz in 1987.

Team Milram for the Tour du Haut Var: Johannes Fröhlinger, Christian Knees, Dominik Roels, Thomas Rohregger, Matthias Russ, Ronny Scholz, Peter Velits, Fabian Wegmann

Landbouwkrediet-Colnago Cycling team for Tour du Haut Var: Bert De Waele, Koen Barbé, Bert Scheirlinckx, Geert Verheyen, Frédéric Amorison, David Boucher, Mathieu Drouilly, Martial Ricci Poggi

Liquigas and other teams target Laigueglia

Team Liquigas will shift its focus from Toscana to Liguria for the 46th Trofeo Laigueglia on February 21. Among the eight riders selected for the race by directeur sportif Stefano Zanatta are Manuel Quinziato and Roman Kreuziger, who will return to competition after a long training period and some racing in Mallorca. Murilo Fischer will also resume racing after the recent birth of his son Luca.

"There will be fierce competition," predicted Zanatta. "But Manuel, Roman and Murilo have the chance to make it to the end as protagonists. We want to keep a lot of our riders at the front of the race and at the right moment, give a burst to go for the win."

"A surprise attack could be the key, especially if there is good motivation. I'm sure that Fischer already knows to whom he would dedicate a win," said Zanatta, referring to the rider's new baby.

Oliver Zaugg will join them, racing for the first time in Liquigas colors.

Several other teams also announced their rosters for the race. Katusha's Filippo Pozzato is among those looking forward to the race.

"I specifically asked to my management to do the Laigueglia, even though I am only finish up the Vuelta a Andalucia today," said Pozzato of Liquigas. "I like this race very much, and I hope to do well."

Liquigas for Trofeo Laigueglia: Murilo Fischer, Roman Kreuziger, Manuel Quinziato, Valerio Agnoli, Gianni Da Ros, Aliaksandr Kuchynski, Ivan Santaromita and Oliver Zaugg.

Team Katusha for Trofeo Laigueglia: Filippo Pozzato, Luca Mazzanti, Pavel Brutt, Mikail Ignatyev, Alexander Serov, Sergey Klimov, Evgueni Petrov, Ben Swift. Sport director: Serge Parsani.

Aeronautica Militare-Amica Chips-Knauf for Trofeo Laigueglia: Leonardo Bertagnolli, Igor Astarloa, Branislau Samoilau, Hilton Clarke, Giuseppe De Maria, Holy Anza, Michal Golas and Robert Kiserlovsk.

Ceramica Flaminia - Bossini Docce for Trofeo Laigueglia: Antonio D'Aniello, Cristiano Fumagalli, Leonardo Giordani, Dainius Kairelis, Alessandro Maserati, Diego Nosotti, Enrico Rossi, Luigi Sestili.

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