Organizers of the fifth annual Tour de San Luis have announced a roster of 22 teams to participate in the six-day stage race set to take place in San Luis, Argentina on January 18-24. The list includes Dane Michael Rasmussen who will be competing with the Italian-based Miche Pro Cycling Team.
Rasmussen completed a two-year suspension for violating the UCI’s whereabouts rules. He was expelled from his former Rabobank team while wearing the yellow jersey at the 2007 Tour de France. This year, he returned to under the Tecos-Trek banner and won the Puebla La Vuelta Ciclista San Marcos held in Mexico in early September.
Liquigas-Doimo will return to Argentina with a seven-rider roster led by Vincenzo Nibali and Brian Vanborg along with sprinter Francesco Chicchi. Italian Ivan Basso will not return to participate in the Tour de San Luis in January with the team. He kicked off his 2009 season at the South American stage race, but will start the upcoming season at the Volta a Catalunya on March 22-28.
Team Katusha is expected to send a strong team that includes Filippo Pozzato and Danilo Napolitano. Footon-Servetto will return with climber Gianpaolo Cheula.
Professional Continental teams heading to Argentina include ISD and Andalucia Cajasur. Also confirmed to participate are the Xacobeo-Galicia, Androni-Diquigiovani, Sparkasse and the German National Team.
Surprisingly missing from the registered list is ProTour team Saxo Bank that showcases two Argentinean sprinters Juan Jose and Lucas Sebastian Haedo.
In 2009, several US-based teams traveled south to the warmer climate and used the Tour of San Luis as a leg opener for the Tour of California that was held in February last year. The date change of the marquee US stage race to May has deterred US-Based teams from preparing its riders too soon.
Without the urgency to gain fitness early, the only US-based team that will be participating in the Tour of San Luis this year will be Jamis-Sutter Home presented by Colavita, headed by Argentinean Directeur Sportif Sebastian Alexandre and sibling riders Alejandro and Anibal Borrajo.
National teams participating in the top ranked South American stage race include defending champions Team Argentina. Last year, there was a flurry of emotions at the finish line where thousands of fans came to watch Alfredo ‘El Flaco’ Lucero crowned as the winner of the fourth annual event. Other national teams participating in the event include Mexico, Columbia, Uruguay, Brazil, Chile, Bolivia and Cuba.
A full list of riders for the participating national teams will be announced shortly.
The Tour de San Luis offers prime pre-season training because of Argentina’s warm summer climate and mountainous back drop.