Despite being fresh from success after his post-Tour criterium victory in Denmark and a two-month break from racing, ProTour leader Danilo Di Luca is going into this Sunday's HEW-Cyclassics with caution.
"We were very competitive," said Di Luca about his 'win' at the GP Arriva last Wednesday. "There were some local neo-professional riders who rode as if it was a World Championship.
"But I haven't competed in a [road] race for two months and I'll race again only one week after the Tour de France. The riders back from the Grande Boucle will be favourites; I'm well aware that I won't be able to be competitive in Hamburg, also because the route doesn't suit me very much," he said.
Regardless, his Liquigas-Bianchi team is fielding a strong line-up for this weekend's ProTour event in Germany. Along with 'il Killer di Spoltore', the team will send Michael Albasini, Italian champion Enrico Gasparotto, Mauro Gerosa, Marcus Ljungqvist, Nicola Loda, Marco Milesi and Marco Zanotti, with Stefano Zanatta acting as direttore sportivo.
Added Di Luca on his intentions: "I would just like to score some points and find the race rhythm again. I have other goals; I'd like to be in peak condition in the middle of August and defend my title at the Giro di Lombardia [Tour of Lombardy]. I'm aiming more at performing consistently well rather single wins to secure final success in the ProTour."