Cannondale will boast a youthful triumvirate of leaders at Milan-San Remo in 2013, with Peter Sagan, Elia Viviani and Moreno Moser heading up the team’s challenge following the departure of Vincenzo Nibali to Astana.
Sagan won the bunch sprint for fourth place last year before going on to enjoy a consistent campaign in the northern classics. The Slovak will be hoping to improve on those showings in 2013 and add a first-ever Classics victory to his burgeoning palmares.
“The objectives will be the same,” Sagan told Gazzetta dello Sport. “I’ll start off in Argentina [at the Tour de San Luis]. The first big objective will be Milan-San Remo, and then we’ll keep on going up to the northern Classics, with Wevelgem, Flanders and Amstel. They’re the first races I really want to do at 100%, and then we’ll see what the programme will be after that. I’d really like to win Flanders or Milan-San Remo.”
Although the veteran Ivan Basso leads the squad in the Grand Tours, there is a distinctly precocious feel to Cannondale’s projected line-up for the Classics, something which Sagan believes helps foster team spirit: “I think we’re a very good team and we’re all friends, almost a family really. We’re all young and that helps to make it a real group,” said Sagan, who competed at the Boonen and Friends Cyclo-cross event last weekend.
In Elia Viviani, Cannondale boasts another rapid finisher in its ranks, and after dividing his time between road and track in 2011 and 2012 in order to qualify for the London Olympics, the Verona native will steer clear of the boards next season.
“My first objective will be to be competitive at the Classics and, deep down, I want to be at the front in the classics,” Viviani said. “I think it’s clear that the classics I could do well in are San Remo and Wevelgem.
“It will also very probably be the case that it will be a bit of a sabbatical year from the track. With the timing of the track Worlds, it’s hard to combine that with my objectives on the road.”
Still only 21 years of age – he celebrates his 22nd birthday on Christmas Day – Moreno Moser is the youngest of Cannondale’s Classics trio, but his startling neo-professional season has stoked enthusiasm among the tifosi. Winner of the Trofeo Laigueglia and Tour of Poland last season, 2013 will see Moser make his debut at La Classicissima, a race his uncle Francesco won in 1984.
“San Remo is certainly a race suited to me but it’s a monument classic so maybe it’s not something very close,” Moser said. “But I won’t start with the idea just of finishing it, I hope I can do something more.”
The youngster will more than likely start his season at the GP degli Etruschi and 2013 should also feature a Grand Tour debut. “We’re talking about a choice between the Giro and the Tour,” Moser. “I think we’ll decide a bit based on how the opening races go. I’d like to do both but that’s not possible. They both fascinate me: the Giro is dream of every Italian rider and then the Tour is the Tour, it needs no introduction.”