Liquigas will back Franco Pellizotti in the Tour de France this July, one month after he placed third overall in the Giro d'Italia. The team insists that the Italian climber will aim for stage wins and leave the classification battle to youngsters Vincenzo Nibali and Roman Kreuziger.
"He came out of the Giro in good shape with the right (amount of) fatigue. The Giro was fast and a great show, but not very hard in respect to the amount of climbing," team manager Roberto Amadio said to Cyclingnews.
Pellizotti won the stage to Blockhaus and moved from fourth to third overall. Co-Captain Ivan Basso supported him on the final mountain stage to Vesuvio. Amadio believes it is best to race Pellizotti while he is at his best.
"Pellizotti has difficulty maintaining his concentration for September and October. He will do the Tour, and that will be the end of big races for the season."
Liquigas originally scheduled Italy's Visconti and Czech Republic's Kreuziger, winner of Tour de Romandie last month, to be the sole classification riders at the Tour de France. Though they remain the two co-captains, Amadio refused to rule out Pellizotti for the overall victory.
"When you are there, you know what is best. Nibali and Kreuziger will start with the classification in mind, more so than Pellizotti."
Nibali and Kreuziger, plus other teammates like Oliver Zaugg, completed a 15-day training camp at altitude in San Pellegrino, Italy. Nibali is currently eighth overall at the Dauphiné Libéré stage race and Kreuziger will start the Tour de Suisse Saturday.
Daniele Bennati will join Kreuziger in Switzerland. He has completely recovered from a crash in Tirreno-Adriatico that forced him to skip the Giro d'Italia. He will captain the sprints for the team at the Tour de Suisse and the Tour de France.