Quick Step to ride Giro stage

ProTour outfit Quick Step has stepped up its training for the Giro d'Italia, with the outfit to ride...

ProTour outfit Quick Step has stepped up its training for the Giro d'Italia, with the outfit to ride one of this year's stages later this week. A selection of the outfit's riders are headed to Tuscany with two of the squad's directors for a tough training session. "I'm very satisfied with the work we're doing," said sports director Luca Guercilena.

The selection of riders, which includes dual world champion Paolo Bettini, yesterday carried out a five hour training session that featured five climbs over a distance of 165 kilometres. While the team enjoyed some strong stage finishes at the 2007 Grand Tour, its top rider on classification was Italian Mauro Facci, over an hour behind in 34th spot.

"Tomorrow we're looking at four hours of training with a last hour behind the car," added Guercilena. "It will be an important test, the guys will try the route of the stage of the Giro d'Italia that finishes in San Vincenzo, the one with the San Carlo climb in the final phase."

Joining Bettini at the training session is Carlos Barredo, Matteo Carrara, Stijn Devolder, Alexander Efimkin, Ad Engels, Juan Manuel Garate, Hubert Schwab, Gert Steegmans, Andrea Tonti, Kevin Van Impe and Giovanni Visconti. The riders are training under the guidance of sport directors Guercilena and Davide Bramati.

Meanwhile the Belgian outfit is continuing its successful reign in Qatar. The outfit's star sprinter Tom Boonen continues to lead the Tour of Qatar's general classiciation, having won the two stages run since the outfit won the event-opening Team Time Trial on Sunday.

Boonen holds a 13 second lead over team-mate Steven De Jongh heading into today's fourth stage. Belgian Greg Van Avermaet (Silence - Lotto) is a further 10 seconds down on general classification in third spot with three stages remaining.

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