Saxo Bank confident despite missing key players

Defending champion Fabian Cancellara and Fränk Schleck of Team Saxo Bank had to cancel their...

Defending champion Fabian Cancellara and Fränk Schleck of Team Saxo Bank had to cancel their appearances at the upcoming Milano-Sanremo, but the team is confident they can contest for victory once again. Saxo Bank will have to avoid a sprint at all costs.

Directeur Sportif Torsten Schmidt was confident that recent races have have put every member of his squad in good condition. "We come with a very strong team to the first of the Classics. They all just finished stage races in Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico, where the speeds were very high, so they're all going very fast at the moment."

There is no secret about the tactics for the Danish team. "We must clearly try to go on the two ascents [Cipressa and Poggio - ed.] towards the end of the race," Schmidt said.

A finish similar to last year, when Cancellara took off in the final run-in to Sanremo and won solo would be the ideal scenario. The new finish, which is twistier than the long straight on the Via Roma, makes it slightly harder for the sprinters's teams to hold it all together.

Cancellara had to forfeit for family reasons. He is also still recovering from a crash. Schleck crashed Wednesday in training.

The Saxo Bank team for Milano-Sanremo: Kurt-Asle Arvesen, Matti Breschel, Frank Høj, Andy Schleck, Karsten Kroon, Stuart O'Grady and Marcus Ljungqvist.

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