Lampre-Merida believe that they have a competitive team for all six stages of the Tour Down Under. Diego Ulissi will lead the line for the Italian outfit at the first WorldTour race of 2016, which takes place from January 19-24. Their all-rounder won a stage in the race and finished third overall in 2014 and he is targeting overall honours once more.
He will be supported by a young team with an average age of 25, including Lampre-Merida’s debutants Marko Kump, Louis Meintjes and Federico Zurlo.
Manuele Mori, Tsgabu Grmay and Luka Pibernik make up the rest of the squad, with Kump and Pibernik expected to challenge in the sprints.
“Ulissi is targeting Tour Down Under as an important appointment of his season and he’d like to repeat the 2014 performances when he obtain one stage victory and the third place in the overall classification: he’ll receive the support from Mori and Grmay,” the team said in a press release.
Meintjes moved from MTN during the off-season and will be handed the chance to shine at a number of stage races throughout 2016. The South African is one of the most promising riders in the peloton and 10th in the Vuelta a España in September at the age of just 23. He has yet to race in the Tour Down Under but could well feature in some of the hillier stages as he looks to start his season on the front foot.
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