Pellizotti to begin with 'al Friuli'

Franco Pellizotti trains in Bibione, Italy,

Franco Pellizotti trains in Bibione, Italy, (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Liquigas' Franco Pellizotti will begin his 2009 campaign at the Giro del Friuli on March 4. It's a late debut for the Italian, who managed to wear the Giro d'Italia's maglia rosa in 2008 and will hope to again in 2009.

Pellizotti's teammates Ivan Basso and Roman Kreuziger will use the race as preparation for Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Nice respectively, while Pellizotti and veteran Andrea Noè will kick off the season with the one-day event.

It's obvious that Liquigas has targeted the Italian race as a suitable meeting point for its stars, with Basso, Kreuziger, Noè and Pellizotti joined by Maciej Bodnar, Gianni Da Ros, Enrico Franzoi and Ivan Santaromita in the lineup.

"In my five years at the helm of Liquigas, we've never done so much in the first few weeks [of a new season]," said team manager Roberto Amadio. "This proves the benefit of the work done by the entire team during the winter – both staff and riders are of the highest calibre."

The team's immediate focus is undoubtedly on Milano-Sanremo, and its designated leader for the race, Daniele Bennati. The Italian sprinter has shown he has great early-season form and Amadio said that Bennati is, "very determined" to perform well in La Primavera, an event he has never won.

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