Tom Boonen and Mark Cavendish are the marquee names on Omega Pharma-QuickStep's roster.
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Boonen and Petacchi join Cavendish in sprinting line-up
Omega Pharma-QuickStep's ambitions at the Tour de San Luis have been bolstered by the addition of Tom Boonen and Alessandro Petacchi to back up Mark Cavendish in the sprints.
It will be the first time that all three fast finishers will ride together since Petacchi joined the Belgian squad last summer, as the team looks to improve its leadout train. Cavendish took part in the Argentinian race for the first time last season, where he won the opening stage and wore the leader's jersey, but missed out on the other sprint finishes.
The addition of Boonen and Petacchi will not just strengthen the leadout team but give the team two strong alternatives to the Manxman. "We can't deny we have a good team at the starting line," said directeur sportif Davide Bramati.
"Cav, Tom, and Peta together have garnered more than 400 victories in their careers, a truly incredible number that speaks volumes about the potential of the squad. Cav and Tom have also won in this race and they are familiar with its dynamics. In the stage for sprinters, we will be called on to take the initiative.”
Boonen, who won the final stage of the 2012 edition, is looking to make amends for a turbulent year, as Cavendish hopes the race will help him retake his sprinting crown from Marcel Kittel. Notably missing from the squad is the Australian Mark Renshaw, who is beginning his season at the Tour Down Under. Joining the team in Argentina will be Gianluca Brambilla, Stijn Vandenbergh and Guillaume van Keirsbulck. This is the third time the Belgian team has gone to the Argentinian race.
“This is a perfect race to start the season," Bramati explained. "There is only a four hour time difference, so it won't create any particular problems and it will allow us to get to Argentina just a few days before the race, on January 16th."
Omega Pharma-QuickStep team for Tour de San Luis: Tom Boonen (Bel), Gianluca Brambilla (Ita), Mark Cavendish (GBr), Alessandro Petacchi (Ita), Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) and Guillaume van Keirsbulck (Bel).
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