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Defending Milan-San Remo champion Nibali leads strong Bahrain-Merida team

Caleb Ewan, Vincenzo Nibali and Arnaud Demare on the Milan-San Remo podium

Caleb Ewan, Vincenzo Nibali and Arnaud Demare on the Milan-San Remo podium (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

The winner of last year's Milan-San Remo, Vincenzo Nibali, will lead a strong Bahrain-Merida squad at this year's race on Saturday, and says that he's feeling his form is getting better all the time.

The Italian's last race was Tirreno-Adriatico – the traditional build-up race for Milan-San Remo – where he finished 15th overall, and clearly not yet at his best this season.

"I'm happy with the 'signals' I got from Tirreno-Adriatico because they showed that my condition is improving," Nibali said on his team's website.

Nibali attacked with six kilometres to go at last year's race, soloing to a memorable victory as the bunch bore down on him, with runner-up Caleb Ewan and third-placed Arnaud Démare not quite able to catch him on the line.

Nibali will be supported by a strong team that includes Sonny Colbrelli, Matej Mohoric, Marcel Sieberg, and Heinrich Haussler, who finished second to Mark Cavendish by the smallest of margins in 2009.

"San Remo is perhaps the most difficult race to interpret and this is its great charm. It won't be easy to repeat what I did last year, but I'll try," added Nibali.

Colbrelli, meanwhile, hopes to be ready to step up if his team leader is unable to be in the mix and defend his crown.

"For me, San Remo is one of the best-loved loved races," said Colbrelli, "and it only takes a second to win it or lose it. Riding Paris-Nice gave me some good feedback, and I hope to be with the best at the end of the race in the Via Roma."

Sports director Alberto Volpi singled out Colbrelli and Mohoric as the men most likely, besides Nibali.

"We have a well-balanced team, with Vincenzo, who will be our captain, and two great quality riders like Sonny and Matej, who will be able to take advantage of the right opportunity," said Volpi.

"The rest of the team is made up of experienced riders, and because of that, I think we'll have a good race."

Bahrain-Merida for the 2019 Milan-San Remo: Sonny Colbrelli, Heinrich Haussler, Kristijan Koren, Matej Mohoric, Vincenzo Nibali, Marcel Sieberg, Dylan Teuns

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