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T-Mobile with modest expectations

As the classics season gets into full swing with Milan-San Remo this Saturday, German team T-Mobile is going into La Primavera with more modest expectations than some other teams. For the seven hour, 294 km race, the team management has chosen classics specialists Lorenzo Bernucci, Andreas Klier, Sergey Ivanov, Stephan Schreck and Steffen Wesemann, who have just completed the eight day Tirreno-Adriatico. They will be joined in Italy by Marcus Burghardt, Linus Gerdemann and Patrik Sinkewitz, who warmed-up for the event at last week's Paris-Nice in France.

T-Mobile sport and technical director Mario Kummer believes his team is going into this year's race as underdogs, however. In recent years the tendency has been for the race to be decided in a mass sprint on the Via Roma in San Remo, and Kummer doesn’t believe he has the hardware to challenge in a wide open bunch showdown: "Without a Petacchi, Freire or Boonen in our ranks, we don’t have the firepower," he said. "We are a compact team overall and we have options."

As usual, with teams without a sprinter, the strategy will be based around the Cipressa (km 272) and Poggio (km 288) climbs, where the race can often be won or lost. T-Mobile will be probing for chances and working hard to get a rider into any moves. "If we get the chance to stop this race ending in a bunch sprint then we should take it," said Valerio Piva.

'La Primavera' is the race every Italian cyclist dreams of winning and Lorenzo Bernucci is one of T-Mobile's strongest cards. According to Piva, the Tuscany-native showed at Tirreno-Adriatico he is "in good shape" and has been riding his way into "the right condition" for the MSR. Together with Schreck and Wesemann, the Italian put in an extra training shift after stage four, and the trio also put in some extra training before Sunday's time trial.

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