Qucik.Step has announced its line-up for the first ProTour race of the season. Tom Boonen, who performed well last weekend at Het Volk and Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne will be the team's man for the sprints - but not only that.
"Traditionally, Paris-Nice is very challenging," Boonen said. "The first stage has a finish that is very much tailored to my way of racing. This race will be important in giving me the chance to refine my condition in light of Milan Sanremo, a race that has always fascinated me," he added, indicating that Petacchi, Freire and Zabel should keep an eye on the young Belgian when approaching the finish line in Sanremo.
Michael Rogers, World Time Trial Champion, will be Quick.Step's leader for the general classification in Paris-Nice. "I'm in good form," said the young Australian who finished third at last Saturday's G.P. Chiasso. "I've been improving daily and now I'm ready for Paris-Nice. The short prologue suits my way of racing, as does most of the rest of the route in general. The presence of lots of strong competitors is an important test for me." Also riding for Quick.Step will be Rik Verbrugghe, winner last Sunday of the GP Lugano.
"Paris-Nice is the first race in the calendar of the new ProTour, so there is bound to be a lot of interest, which in return means it is important for our team to be active protagonists," said team DS Wilfried Peeters. "We have a couple of objectives for the race. We'll be looking toward Michael Rogers and Rik Verbrugghe, both of whom are in good form, for the general classification. For the stage wins we'll be working for Tom Boonen. We've got a strong well-balanced team that is more than able to support the leaders in both of our objectives."
The complete Quick.Step roster for Paris-Nice is as follows: Tom Boonen, Kevin De Weert, Kevin Hulsmans, Marc Lotz, Michael Rogers, Bram Tankink, Guido Trenti and Rik Verbrugghe.