Rabobank's Denis Menchov will ride for the overall title in the Giro d'Italia, which starts this Saturday. The team is leaving its sprinters at home and concentrating on the maglia rosa.
"We are absolutely looking forward to this centenary Giro," directeur sportif Adri van Houwelingen told Cyclingnews. "Under the guidance of Angelo Zomegnan, the Giro has grown over the last years and this year it is a special race, with a tough course and a lot of emozione."
Van Houwelingen said that although the team had never won the overall, they would work for Menchov's aspirations as well as look for stage wins. Menchov finished fifth overall in the 2008 edition of the race.
The Dutch team will send a squad of five Dutch riders, two Russians, a Spaniard and a Colombian. Laurens ten Dam will help Menchov in the mountains, while Mauricio Ardila, Jos van Emden, Bram de Groot, Pedro Horillo, Dimitry Kozontchuk, Tom Stamsnijder and Maarten Tjallingii will also lend their help. Pieter Weening, who was initially scheduled to race the Giro, was announced to skip the event due to a saddle abscess.
Van Houwelingen and Jan Boven will accompany the team as sports directors for the first nine days, after which Erik Breukink will take over.