By Gregor Brown
Team LPR Brakes is determined to start off the season with a powerful showing to insist on its place in northern Europe's Ardennes Classics. The Italy-based Professional Continental team of Danilo Di Luca and Alessandro Petacchi was unable to attend the races in 2008.
"I believe that LPR will have a good chance to race Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. I am talking with [the organisers]. We have also put in place a biological passport programme so there won't be any of these types of problems," said Team Manager Fabio Bordonali to Cyclingnews.
Race organisers overlooked LPR for selection in this year's events despite having 2007 Liège champion Di Luca on the team. The Italian was involved in an investigation with the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) leading up to the Ardennes Week.
"It was the problem based on the Zoncolan stage of the 2007 Giro. It finished well and he was cleared, and he raced the Giro d'Italia."
The team holds its first camp for the 2009 season at the end of this month in Brescia. Bordonali will meet with all the riders, particularly Alessandro Petacchi, who he will use to make an immediate impact.
"We will set up the programmes for the riders, like Alessandro Petacchi and Danilo Di Luca, for 2009. For sure it will involve the Italian races, but there will also be the Tour Méditerranéen and other races for Alessandro. We want to start well with him, in the races that are suited to his characteristics and put wins on the board immediately.
"The important races will be Tirreno-Adriatico Danilo for the classification and Petacchi for the stages and Milano-Sanremo."
Petacchi joined the team halfway through this year after leaving Team Milram for an unrelated CONI investigation. He is the past winner of Milano-Sanremo and has seven stage wins in the Tirreno-Adriatico.