The ProTour teams are gearing up for the Tour of Poland, starting on Monday, September 12, 2005. The one-week event of course counts for ProTour points, so current standings leader Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas-Bianchi) is especially keen to consolidate his white jersey. The 29 year-old Italian will race again after a two-week stop.
"I've been training hard to recover peak condition," Di Luca said. "At the Tour of Poland, I'm going for both stage wins and, above all, an excellent overall placing, if not the final victory! The 50 points for the overall winner would strengthen my ProTour leadership. If I win in Poland, I've almost got the jersey for good."
In the 'Killer's opinion, "the last unusual time trial stage is decisive for the victory: the first part is flat and then there is a very steep climb in the finale. It's kind of a mountain time trial." Di Luca counts on the 'usual suspects' as his main rivals to watch out for. "Rebellin, Vinokourov and Julich. As usual," he concluded.
Di Luca will be joined in Poland by the following team-mates: Dario Andriotto, Nicola Loda, Vladimir Miholjevic, Marco Milesi, Andrea Noè, Luciano Pagliarini and Marco Righetto. General Manager Roberto Amadio and Team Manager Mario Scirea will lead the team.
Lampre Caffita have also announced their respective line-up for the Eastern European stage race: Alessandro Ballan, Daniele Bennati, Gianfranco Bortolami, Evgueni Petrov, Oleksandr Kvachuk, Daniele Righi, Gorazd Stangelj and Giuliano Figueras will take the start in Gdansk, Poland next Monday. Directeur sportif Fabrizio Bontempi is hopeful his team can challenge its rivals.
"Bennati and Ballan are in great condition and they want to do well to be selected in the national team for the next World Championships," Bontempi said. "We will look for a stage win with them, with Bortolami, or Figueras, who is not at 100 percent yet but who may be able to win a stage."
Giuliano Figueras is coming back to the races after his abandon in the Vuelta a España because of a virus. "The feeling during training is good but it is clear I'm not at the top," Figueras said. "I'd like to do well in the next races to gain confidence for next year - this season I missed the results I was looking for."
Spanish team Illes Balears are also participating, and sending the following riders: David Arroyo, Daniel Becke, Toni Colom, Imanol Erviti, Sergi Escobar, Cayetano Julià, Vladimir Karpets and Vicente Reynés.