Liquigas changes guard, Bennati returns

Daniele Bennati returns to racing

Daniele Bennati returns to racing (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

With the shift in the Spring Classics from the pavé of Flanders to the punchy climbs of the Ardennes, teams are revamping their line-ups and the Liquigas squad is no exception. After Filippo Pozzato was denied in Milano-Sanremo, and failed to crack the podium in the cobbled Classics, the team will look to Leonardo Bertagnolli and Kjell Carlström for all three of the Ardennes Classics: Amstel Gold, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Roman Kreuziger, Valerio Agnoli, Michael Albasini, Dario Cataldo, Matej Mugerli and Frederik Willems join the pair for the Flèche Wallonne, while Franco Pellizotti, Vincenzo Nibali and Vladimir Miholjevic will be joining the ranks for Liège-Bastogne-Liège in place of Agnoli, Albasini and Willems.

Meanwhile, sprinter Daniele Bennati has recovered sufficiently from a knee injury to return to racing. The Italian who won two stages in the 2007 Tour de France and three in the Vuelta a España came over to the Liquigas squad from Lampre this year, but has yet to race in his new green and blue kit. "I'm keen to race again and I've got the Giro d'Italia in my sights," Bennati said.

He will make his first appearance with his new the team on April 20th at the Giro d'Oro. "I'm curious and excited about this debut. My season is only just starting now and I want to make my mark," he proclaimed. The 27-year-old suffered from an injured left knee, described as "a slight patellar chondropathy to his left knee, associated with inflammation of the lateral ligament," by a team press release. "I'm still not one hundred per cent on form," Bennati admitted, "and my legs still need to cover a few more miles. But I'm trying to prepare myself in the best way possible for the Giro d'Italia." (For more on 'Benna' read Bennati back after seven-month stop.)

Bennati will be joined in the Giro d'Oro and next week's' Giro del Trentino stage race by Franco Pellizotti and Vincenzo Nibali, who will then fly off to Belgium the following day for Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Completing the line-up will be Claudio Corioni, Vladimir Miholjevic, Andrea Noè, Alessandro Vanotti and Charles Wegelius.

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