Alberto Loddo has been charged with the responsibility of taking Giro d'Italia stage wins for his Tinkoff Credit Systems team. The Italian sprinter opened the 2008 season in style, out sprinting Tom Boonen (Quick Step) to win stage four of the Tour of Qatar.
"One of our main objectives is naturally stage victories," team sports director Orlando Maini said. "We expect Loddo to be fully active in the sprint finishes, and [Mikhail] Ignatiev, [Vasil] Kiryienka, [Luca] Mazzanti, and [Evgeni] Petrov with their abilities to animate.
"Our other objective is to devote the team in support of Petrov and to improve his position from last year's seventh overall," he added.
Petrov and Pavel Brutt have trained on several of the event's important climbs, such as the Passo Manghen, Alpe di Pampeago and Pordoi. The difficult ascension of Marmolada, the Passo San Pellegrino and the summit climb to Giau have also been tested by Petrov, in addition to the Plan de Corones climb.
"Such a stage will be very demanding and difficult," Petrov explained. "The kilometres up the Plan de Corones will be a final curtain call for many of the riders weary with fatigue."
Maini, who will be directing the squad at the Giro, believes that previewing the event's climbs is important in mapping out the team's tactical plan.
"It was important to perform reconnaissance on the climbs for this years Giro in order to visualize important tactical areas," he said. "I believe that the Plan de Corones will be one of the decisive factors in the general classification of the race."
The Italian Grand Tour gets underway this weekend, with the first stage a Team Time Trial in Palermo on Saturday. The 21 stage event runs through to June 1.
Tinkoff Credit Systems for Giro d'Italia: Alberto Loddo, Alexander Serov, Nikolai Trusov, Sergey Klimov, Luca Mazzanti, Evgeni Petrov, Vasil Kiryienka, Pavel Brutt and Mikhail Ignatiev.