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Quick-Step, Astana and Milram for Paris-Nice

Belgian team QuickStep-Innergetic has confirmed its line-up for Paris-Nice, which will start on Sunday, March 11. The team will be centred around Tom Boonen, the favourite for the first, flat stages of the week of racing 'towards the sun'.

Boonen will be helped by the following teammates to keep the peloton together: Wilfried Cretskens, Steven De Jongh, Sebastien Rosseler, Gert Steegmans, Matteo Tosatto, Kevin Van Impe and Jurgen Van De Walle.

Astana, which holds a ProTour licence has been given a wild card for the race by the organiser, and will thus also be at the start of the 65th edition of Paris-Nice. Eight cyclists will participate, including the Russian Gennady Mikhailov and the Australian Aaron Kemps, who fills in for the ill Spaniard Antonio Colom. Kemps had finished third during one of the stages in 2005.

Astana's line-up will be: Igor Abakoumov, Thomas Frei, Maxim Iglinskiy, Benoît Joachim, Gennady Mikhailov, Dimitri Muravyev, Jose Antonio Redondo and Aaron Kemps.

Team Milram sends a team led by Igor Astarloa to the first important race this year, as Alessandro Petacchi will be busy racing in Tirrenno-Adriatico. However, the responsibility of performance is not put on the Spaniard alone.

"We can do a good race with our riders," said sport director Vittorio Algeri. "In the first part of the race Mirco Lorenzetto will have his chances in the sprints, Igor Astarloa in the second and more demanding part."

Team Milram's selection reads as follows: Igor Astarloa, Ralf Grabsch, Brett Lancaster, Mirco Lorenzetto, Martin Müller, Alberto Ongarato, Björn Schröder and Sebastian Siedler.