Liquigas-Doimo will send a young squad to Istanbul for its first participation in the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey, to be held April 11-18, with the focus on developing the Italian outfit's youth stocks.
While staff had considered sending Daniele Bennati and Peter Sagan, the good form of both riders in the early season, in addition to the squad's chances in May's Giro d'Italia meant that directeur sportif Dario Mariuzzo will hand the likes of Elia Viviani an opportunity to test their mettle against some of the world's best.
"Originally, we thought we'd take Daniele Bennati and Peter Sagan to the Tour of Turkey," said Mariuzzo. "But we have to give them a rest after they delivered great results. Bennati will not take part in any stage race until the Giro d'Italia.
Sagan is only 20 years old - he amazed everyone during Paris-Nice but we shouldn't be too enthusiastic too quickly about him. However, the Tour of Turkey is very important to us because we do have great champions at Liquigas-Doimo but we also have great up-and-coming riders. We want to develop them," he added.
Viviani won a stage in the Tour of Cuba this year and will go to Turkey to challenge the likes of HTC-Columbia's André Greipel and Sacha Modolo (Colnago-CSF), the young Italian who recently finished fourth in Milan-San Remo.
"In many professional teams, when a young rider arrives, he gets tested by his work in the service of the captains," Mariuzzo continued. "We have a different approach this time; our guys will have the opportunity to ride for themselves. They'll be more than welcome to try and win a stage. The Tour of Turkey will reveal their personality and their motivation."
Tiziano Dall'Antonia will also line up for Liquigas-Doimo, having ridden the past two editions of the Tour of Turkey. Polish time triallist Maciej Bodnar will focus on the prologue in Istanbul as he'll resume racing after breaking a collarbone in December.
"These two riders are in a different situation than the other guys," Mariuzzo explained. "They're part of a group of 12 riders likely to ride the Giro d'Italia. In Turkey, they'll have to convince us about their capacity of supporting Franco Pellizotti, Ivan Basso and Daniele Bennati in May."
Liquigas-Doimo team for the Presidential Tour of Turkey: Maciej Bodnar, Davide Cimolai, Tiziano Dall'Antonia, Kristjan Koren, Maciej Paterski, Elia Viviani.