Lampre-Merida select experienced team for Horner's Vuelta a España defence

Lampre-Merida have named its named its nine-man team for the Vuelta a España which is built around defending champion Chris Horner. The American became the oldest ever grand tour winner when he won last year and is looking to beat his own record with successive victories.

Horner suffered from bronchitis during the Tour de France and has been undergoing therapy to be at his best for the Spanish race. At his first race back after the Tour, Horner placed second overall at the Tour of Utah which he rode as training ride in preparation for the Vuelta which he is confident of winning.

Joining Horner in Jerez for the opening stage of the race on August 23 will be several experienced riders including the 2004 Giro d'Italia winner, Damiano Cunego. The Vuelta will be Cunego's 20th career grand tour and the Italian will be a key domestique for Horner in the mountains having recovered from a nasty knee injury sustained at the Tour of Poland.

Winner Anacona Gomez will also be called upon in the mountains and enters the race off the back of a good display at the Tour of Utah where he finished third overall.

Przemyslaw Niemiec and Josè Serpa have also been selected to help Horner when the roads head upwards and both are experienced grand tour riders.

Filippo Pozzato will ride his first grand tour since the 2013 Giro and will be looking for his first win of 2014. The 32-year-old missed out on Tour selection having made the team's long-lost but most recently rode the Eneco Tour in preparation for the Vuelta.

The team also enters the third and final grand tour of 2014 with two sprinting options. Roberto Ferrari has been selected for his first Vuelta and the one-time stage winner at the Giro will be looking for his first win in two season.

Maximiliano Richeze will be making his second grand tour appearance for the year having started the Tour before withdrawing from the race on stage 6. The 31-year-old Argentina will also be hoping to break his two year drought of victories in his second year with the team.

Lampre-Merida for the Vuelta a España: Christopher Horner, Winner Anacona Gomez, Damiano Cunego, Elia Favilli, Roberto Ferrari, Przemyslaw Niemiec, Filippo Pozzato, Maximiliano Richeze and Josè Serpa.

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