Omega Pharma-QuickStep has pinpointed Matteo Trentin as the rider most likely to lead out Mark Cavendish at the Tour de San Luis, which starts on Monday. The event marks Cavendish's first race for the Belgian team since his move from Sky at the tail end of 2012.
Speaking to Cyclingnews before a five-hour training ride in the hills around San Luis, Martin Velits confirmed that Trentin's speed and experience made him the best candidate, although he indicated that the team would work en masse to help Cavendish win.
"We've Trentin, and he's pretty fast and had some good lead-outs last year. We've a couple of fast guys who can take over inside the final 3 kilometres," Velits told Cyclingnews.
"We had two training camps when we practiced team lead-outs and time trialing," he added.
"We've done a lot of drills and I think everyone is ready. I'm not the guy who will be there to help in the last kilometre. I'll be the guy who helps control the race in the begging and then maybe have a job in the last 5 kilometres."
Legs permitting, Cavendish has a strong chance of picking up the first two stages of the race, should they end in bunch sprints. However Velits warned that controlling the race with six-man teams could be a major factor. While some of the national teams in the race have been allocated seven spots in the race, the WorldTour teams have been awarded just six.
"It will be about controlling the race in the sprint stages. It will be difficult to control with six men, there are some teams with seven but there are more WorldTour teams here so hopefully that means that the race will be more controlled.
"Hopefully from day one we can get some help from teams with sprinters or from the teams with GC guys who don't want big breaks to get away. After day one, it all depends, because if we win I don't think we'll get much help. But if we don't win then I still expect us to get some help."
Team director at the race, and former pro-rider, Davide Bramati, added: "We know already the parcours and the road here even if there are slight changes. The course is difficult, with uphill finishes, a time trial and few stages for the sprinters. We will see day by day how to interpret the race. We have good riders and it would be great to start our season with a good result."
Daniel Benson is the Managing Editor at Cyclingnews. Based in the UK, he coordinates the global coverage for the website. Having joined Cyclingnews in April 2008, he has covered several Tour de France, the Spring Classics, and the London Olympic Games in 2012.