Quick Step, Columbia and Acqua & Sapone to Lombardia

Stefano Garzelli (Acqua Sapone-Caffè Mokambo) was third in the Coppa Sabatini

Stefano Garzelli (Acqua Sapone-Caffè Mokambo) was third in the Coppa Sabatini

Belgian cycling team Quick Step has announced its rider selection for the upcoming Giro di Lombardia on Saturday, October 18. Riding for the squad will be: Mauro Facci, Kevin Hulsmans, Alessandro Proni, Leonardo Scarselli, Andrea Tonti, Matteo Tosatto, Davide Viganò and Giovanni Visconti. The team will be directed by Davide Bramati.

Team Columbia also revealed its line-up for the 'classic of the falling leaves', with the squad's Italian riders, Marco Pinotti and Morris Possoni, expected to make a good showing.

"The Coppa Sabatini, Giro D'Emilia and GP Beghelli were useful for keeping the team from losing focus after the World Championships, and Marco and Morris are both very motivated," said team sports director Valerio Piva. "But we'll be keeping all our options open. We'll have to be sure to get somebody in the early break, as it might well stay away to the finish. If it doesn't, then the Madonna del Ghisallo climb [around 45 kilometres from the finish] will be where Lombardy really takes shape."

Piva added that Lombardia was going to be a complicated race. "We will have to stay very focused because Lombardy is going to be a fast-moving, wide-open race this year," he said. "In the three one-day Classics earlier this month you could tell a lot of the big names are quite tired, whilst other Classics specialists like Davide Rebellin will be missing Lombardy completely. That means I don't think any team will be able to keep control of Lombardy."

Columbia chose the following riders to compete in the Autumn classic: Michael Barry, Scott Davis, Gert Dockx, Craig Lewis, Marco Pinotti, Morris Possoni, Michael Rogers and Kanstantin Sivtsov.

Pro Continental team Acqua & Sapone Caffè Mokambo has three aces up its sleeve for the season's closing classic: Luca Paolini, who was runner-up in the Giro del Piemonte this week, Stefano Garzelli, who skipped this race on purpose to fully concentrate on the Giro di Lombardia and Francesco Masciarelli, winner of the Giro del Lazio earlier this month.

Directeur sportif Franco Gini wished success to Garzelli, who sits in second position in the Europe Tour and the Italian Cup respectively and who has earned many podium placings this year. "Garzelli would deserve to finish this season with a victory - he has been very strong and is racing with great motivation."

The rider himself did not deny this. "It is important to me to end this season well, even if I know that it won't be simple, as many of my rivals are still in enviable shape," he said. "However, I am confident I can be a player in a race that is worth a whole season, and I will give it all the energy that I have left."

Garzelli, Paolini and Masciarelli will be joined by Massimo Codol, Francesco Failli, Andrea and Simone Masciarelli as well as Giuseppe Palumbo.

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