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Michele Scarponi (Androni Giocattoli)
Lampre-ISD leader follows in Nibali's wheel tracks
Michele Scarponi is set to follow in the footsteps of his Giro d’Italia rival Vincenzo Nibali by reconnoitering the race’s ninth stage to Mount Etna. The Italian will lead the Lampre-ISD’s assault on the general classification of the 2011 Giro.
“The Etna stage will be the second summit finish of the 2011 Giro d’Italia,” Scarponi told the Lampre-ISD team's website. “It will certainly be an important opportunity for the overall contenders to try and make their mark.”
Scarponi will ride part of the stage on Thursday and just like Nibali in November, he will sample both sides of the climb. The 159km stage from Messina will see the gruppo tackle the volcano first via the Rifugio Citelli approach before descending and then climbing again to the Rifugio Sapienza.
“I think it’s useful to arrive prepared for the big day,” Scarponi said. “Riding on the roads on both of the ways up the climb will serve to give me an idea of the actual difficulty of the climbs and to find some points of reference already.”
Scarponi joins Lampre from Androni-Giocattoli, where he finished fourth in the 2010 Giro and second at the Tour of Lombardy. He had previously served a suspension for his implication in Operacion Puerto.