The T-Mobile Team has announced its rider line-up for the Vattenfall Cyclassics on July 30 in Hamburg, Germany. For the only ProTour classic on home turf, the magenta team are bringing a two-pronged attack.
Matthias Kessler, fresh off an impressive Tour de France where he won the stage in Valkenburg, Netherlands, will share the captain’s role with Italian one-day specialist Lorenzo Bernucci. Over the 250.5km-long route, the duo will count on the support of Luxembourg champion Kim Kirchen, Stephan Schreck, Daniele Nardello, Thomas Ziegler as well as the sprint-duo André Korff and Olaf Pollack.
Should the race be decided in a breakaway group, then Matthias Kessler and Lorenzo Bernucci are T-Mobile's first-line tactical options. Kessler came back from the Tour in great shape, and Bernucci finished second overall at the Sachsen-Tour last week, behind winner Vladimir Gusev (Discovery Channel).
"Both riders are in top shape right now, and the rolling but not so challenging parcours will play to their strengths," said Valerio Piva, who reckoned that the infamous Waseberg climb will play the decisive role in finding a successor to 2005 winner Filippo Pozzato. The peloton will tackle the short but sharp climb four times on Sunday, something that will suit a 'puncheur' like Kessler. "The race situation will decide which of the two captains we will ride for. A lot of factors will come into play", Piva continued. "It is a difficult race to control. We will have to wait and see how the race pans out."
If it all boils down to a bunch sprint decider, then Piva will be relying on the fast-twitches of Olaf Pollack to get in the mix. Pollack, who has been quiet since he pulled on the maglia rosa at the Giro d’Italia in May is keen to get the second part of the season going. Proven classics riders like Schreck, Nardello, Ziegler and Korff have the legs and the head to last the distance and support their leaders all the way.
20,000 recreational cyclists will also ride through the Hanseatic city at Sunday’s mass participation race, while the police are expecting up to one millions spectators to line the streets for cycling's most northerly classic.