Ballan to make Giro debut, Hushovd and Phinney for the early stages
Marco Pinotti will lead the BMC Racing Team in the Giro d'Italia, looking to finish in the top ten. Alessandro Ballan wants a stage win in his first Giro, while Thor Hushovd and Taylor Phinney both have their eye on the race's prologue in Herning, Denmark, on Saturday, May 5.
Sporting director Fabio Baldato announced the US-based team's starting lineup to the Gazzetta dello Sport. The team will send Pinotti, Ballan, Hushovd, Phinney, Mauro Santambrogio, Ivan Santaromita, Mathias Frank, Johan Tschoop and Danilo Wyss.
Pinotti wore the leader's maglia rosa at the Giro in 2011 for one stage after his HTC-Highroad team won the opening team time trial. He subsequently had to abandon the race after a crash on the 19th stage left him with a broken hip.
Ballan, who will be making his Giro debut at the age of 32, “will try to win a stage, after two third places in the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix,” Baldato said. He will also be “the man to escape.”
Hushovd and Phinney “will have immediate ambitions and goals for the prologue. It would be a double blow: the stage and the jersey. They are worth a lot for the two Danish stages.”
The Italian, who himself rode the Giro 13 times, said that the start in Denmark “is logistically inconvenient, but technically it favours us. Afterwards there will be few transfers, and this should also help.”
As for the the route, he said it's “balanced, and the difficulty of the last week is now a tradition. But this year there is at least one stage for the sprinters, so as not to lead to the temptation to abandon the race before Milan. In short, a tour be respected and feared.”