The 39th Settimana Lombarda stage race starts today in Brignano, Italy, with a strong Italian field. Danilo Di Luca, 2007 Giro d'Italia winner, will defend his title against Gilberto Simoni, Davide Rebellin and Giovanni Visconti.
There are 25 teams and 194 riders slated to start in the northern Italy stage race (held in the Lombardia region). Alessandro Petacchi, Francesco Ginanni and Coppi e Bartali stage winners Danilo Napolitano and Yuri Mitlushenko should head the sprint stages.
The race starts with a team time trial stage of 18.7 kilometres in Brignano. Next weekend's stages should decide the overall title. Stage five covers Colle della Maddalena before the finish in Flero and stage six, Sunday, covers the Colle Gallo, Selvino and Boccola prior to the finish in Bergamo.
Di Luca (LPR Brakes) won the 2008 edition over teammates Paolo Savoldelli and Daniele Pietropolli.