The world's top professional cycling outfits are converging on Spain to ready for the season's final Grand Tour, the Vuelta a España, which commences on Saturday. Belgian squad Quick Step, Italian outfit Lampre and Basque team Euskaltel-Euskadi have all announced their rosters for this weekends race, with the three teams currently making their way to Spain.
After a disappointing Tour de France campaign, where it was missing sprint star Tom Boonen, Quick Step is hoping to redeem itself at the Vuelta. Boonen will be supported by reigning world champion Paolo Bettini at the outfit, which is hunting for a new sponsor for next season.
The Belgian squad will be challenged in the sprint stages by Lampre's line-up. The Italian team is also mounting a general classification bid with Damiano Cunego.
"I always like to take part in Vuelta, so I'm happy to go to Spain this year too," said Cunego. "The stages are interesting and the opponents too, so it will be exciting trying to battle for the victory in some stages. Last year my final part of the season was fantastic after I had took part in Vuelta, so I hope this could happen again."
Lampre's team management is hopeful of repeating their success of three stage victories in last year's Vuelta. "In the team there will be our best riders because we'd like to obtained this year too the satisfactions we had last year," said team manager Giuseppe Saronni. "Ballan, Cunego, Bruseghin and Napolitano are quality guarantee and they will be well supported by Marzano, Mori and Tiralongo, while Santambrogio and Bindi will try to use their battling attitude."
Quick Step roster: Carlos Barredo, Paolo Bettini, Tom Boonen, Juan Manuel Garate, Andrea Tonti, Matteo Tosatto, Kevin Van Impe, Davide Viganò and Wouter Weylandt.
Lampre roster: Alessandro Ballan, Emanuele Bindi, Marzio Bruseghin, Damiano Cunego, Marco Marzano, Massimiliano Mori, Danilo Napolitano, Mauro Santambrogio and Paolo Tiralongo.
Euskaltel-Euskadi roster: Igor Anton, Mikel Astarloza, Koldo Fernandez de Larrea, Iñigo Landaluze, Egoi Martinez, Rubén Pérez, Alan Perez, Amets Txurruka and Ivan Velasco.