The Cannondale team has revealed its nine rider for the Giro d'Italia with the Ivan Basso confirmed as the team leader for the overall classification, while Elia Viviani will target results in the sprints in the first half of the race, while the enigmatic Moreno Moser will also have the freedom to target stage victories.
Also in the nine-rider roster are Vuelta a Espana winner Daniele Ratto, key domestiques Paolo Longo Borghini and Alan Marangoni, Germany's Michel Koch and talented neo-pro Davide Villella.
"We aim to attend the Giro as one of the most combative teams," said team manager Roberto Amadio in a press release from the team. "We want to play an attacking role every time we have the chance. And the riders' selection follows this ambition. We're really confident in the entire team - the desire to show our potential will be the biggest push for this Giro."
Basso turned 36 in November and missed last year's Giro d'Italia due to a nasty saddle sore. He was on form at the Vuelta a Espana but then quit the race after suffering in the cold and rain on stage 14. He has struggled so far this season and was off the pace in this week's Tour de Romandie but has refused to lose hope of s good overall result when the Giro d'Italia ends in Trieste on June 1.
"Feeling strong is something you've got to build gradually. I'm not riding as well as I'd like and I've got to keep working. I can honestly say I'm worried but I'm not going to let it get to me for now," Basso told Gazzetta dello Sport.
The Cannondale hope Basso can find his form in time for the decisive week of the Giro d'Italia, when the mountain stages will be decisive.
Viviani dreams of taking the pink jersey
The Italian-registered team is hoping that Viviani can continue his run of success in the sprints after winning in Turkey and perhaps even wear the maglia rosa for a few days early in the race.
"I hope to beat Kittel just as I beat Cavendish here in Turkey," Viviani said after his second win on Saturday.
"My condition is at the top and now I ask my body to stay like this for another ten days. My big focus in the Giro is the first week and I want to beat Kittel in the early stages. The team is strong and I've got Ratto, Gatto, Longo Borghini and Marangoni to help me on the flat stages, the sprints and the team time trial."
"I have a dream (the pink jersey) because there are three sprint stages after the team time trial. I finished a few centimeters behind Cavendish last year (in the first sprint in Naples) and so didn’t take the pink jersey. This year we've worked all winter for the sprints and now I'm in good condition."
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