Team T-Mobile has announced its roster for this Saturday's Clasica San Sebastian. Austrian champion Bernhard Kohl and the experienced Giuseppe Guerini spearhead the magenta outfit in the Basque country, where 225km of hilly terrain awaits the peloton. Kohl particularly impressed this year at the Dauphiné Libéré, where he climbed his way to third overall, while Guerini put in another solid team performance at this year's Tour.
The Clasica follows its traditional course through the Basque province of Guipuzkoa and snakes along scenic coastal roads at first, before heading inland where the riders will face a series of sharp testing climbs. Six categorised climbs, including the category one Alto de Jaizkibel are sure to shake things up in the peloton.
"The combination of the sweltering heat, the route, the parcours and the motivation of the Spanish riders always make this a very tough race," said Frans van Looy, who will be the team's director in San Sebastian.
The eight kilometre-long first category one Jaizkibel, which comes at km 193, has a gradient of up to 8.2 percent in sections and is sure to shake up the race. "With nearly 200 km already in the legs, the strongest are able to pull away on the Jaizkibel," added van Looy. "Anyone not at the front there is out of contention."
Eddy Mazzoleni could be a rider to watch at the Clasica. The 32-year old Italian showed good post-Tour form at the Deutschland-Tour, where he finished ninth overall. Last year, while riding for Lampre, he placed third in San Sebastian behind the Spaniards Constantino Zaballa and Joaquin Rodriguez (both Saunier Duval).
Rounding out the eight man roster are the two Italians Lorenzo Bernucci and Daniele Nardello, Australian Scott Davis, and Germans Linus Gerdemann and Matthias Kessler.
Kessler, a solid all-rounder who can climb well, twice won the Grand Prix Miguel Indurain in northern Spain, a region where he obviously feels at home. And in 2005 he spent most of the Clasica off the front in an eight rider break, that wasn't reeled in until the final haul up the Alto de Jaizkibel.