Several teams have announced their lineups for this week's Tour Méditerranéen, which gets underway in Marseille on February 8. Running until February 12, it's the first stage race hitout for some squads, with most out to gain some early-season form and a couple of wins while the air is still a little chilly.
Quick Step-Innergetic has announced its team, with Nick Nuyens the rider most likely to be aiming for overall honours after his success at the 2005 Tour of Britain; chances are his early season form should be strong ahead of Omloop Het Volk, which he also won last year. New rider Kevin Van Impe lines up for his first stage race with the squad along with Cedric Vasseur, who has moved over to the Belgian team from French outfit Cofidis. Quick Step's riders to start in Marseille are Kevin De Weert, Nick Nuyens, Bram Tankink, Jurgen Van de Walle, Kevin Van Impe, Cedric Vasseur, Geert Verheyen, Remmert Wielinga. Director Sportif is Rik Van Slycke.
With a strong team that includes Murilo Fischer, Alexander Bazhenov and Australian Paul Crake, Naturino-Sapore di Mare will be out to "make their mark in France" this week when the Tour Méditerranéen gets underway in Marseille. It's the team's first stage race of the season, and there's an air of confidence about the Italian squad.
"Doing the Tour Méditerranéen is different to previous seasons, it's quite a hard race to start with," said director sportif Antonio Salutini. "We've got a strong team, with [Alexander] Bazhenov already riding well; he could aim for the general classification," he continued, before adding, "[Sergio] Marinangeli and [Murilo] Fischer have a good understanding in the sprint finishes, and after a week spent in Qatar their preparation is almost is done - their physical condition is almost ideal. I think we can make a mark in France." Naturino's riders for Tour Méditerranéen will be Luca Ascani, Alexander Bazhenov (Rus), Stefan Cohnen (Ola), Paul Crake (Aus), Antonio Murilo Fischer (Bra), Sergio Marinangeli, Massimo Giunti, Martin Mares (Cze).
Milram has included veteran sprinter Erik Zabel in its team for the French race, with Mirko Celestino and Andry Grivko the candidates for strong overall performances. Look out for Zabel in the sprints after good showings at the Tour of Qatar. Milram's riders for Tour Méditerranéen are: Mirko Celestino, Ralf Grabsch, Andry Grivko, Mirco Lorenzeto, Enrico Poitschke, Elia Rigotto, Erik Zabel, Sebastian Siedler. Directors Sportive are Antonio Bevilacqua and Jan Schaffrat
Lampre-Fondital will start its first stage race in the latest reincarnation of the Lampre team with a solid group of riders capable of taking a stage win. Riders for the French race are Daniele Bennati, Paolo Fornaciari, Danilo Napolitano, Matteo Carrara, Claudio Corioni, David Loosli, Mauro Santambrogio, Daniele Righi. Substitutes will be Evgueni Petrov and Matteo Bono, and directors sportive will be Fabrizio Bontempi and Bruno Vicino
Team Miche has also announced its Tour Méditerranéen team, with the lineup consisting of Alberto Borrajo, Yuri Methlushenko, Maurizio Carta, Antonio D'Aniello, Pasquale Muto, Armando Rupa, Przemyslaw Niemiec, Seweryn Kohut. Director sportif will be Marco Tozzi