Matteo Trentin will lead Australian WorldTour team Mitchelton-Scott at the Tour of Flanders on Sunday, and should be able to count on strong support from the likes of Michael Hepburn, Jack Bauer and Chris Juul-Jensen.
Further support will come from Luka Mezgec, while neo-pros Rob Stannard and Edoardo Affini will continue to learn the ropes in what is already their second Monument this year, having both started – and finished – Milan-San Remo.
Trentin has not been named in too many lists of pre-race favourites – and his best result in six starts at Flanders was 13th in 2017 – but the two-time Paris-Tours, and two-time Tour de France stage, winner said on the team's website that he's feeling good, having scored top-10 finishes at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Milan-San Remo, the E3 BinckBank Classic and Gent-Wevelgem in recent weeks.
"My form's good ,and I've been able to recover this week from what was a very demanding Gent Wevelgem [on Sunday]," Trentin said.
"Up until now, I've always been there in the previous races. I havent managed to get a bit of luck in any of those situations, but I've always been there with the best riders."
Italy's last win at Flanders came courtesy of Alessandro Ballan in 2007, although Filippo Pozzato came close in 2012 when he was pipped on the line by Tom Boonen, when the Belgian took the third of his three Ronde titles.
"To go home with the bag full, we just need a bit of luck to find the right group that is allowed a bit of freedom, and just have a good day on the bike," said Trentin.
"Matteo has shown in not only all of the Classics, but all of his races this year that he is at a high level," added sports director Laurenzo Lapage.
"Everyone knows that these races are his races. He has shown in the past that he's really good here, and has always played a role when his condition has been there.
"He will have the support of the full team, that's for sure," Lapage continued. "He is our card on Sunday – that's no secret – and by showing good things these past two weeks, everyone is really confident and wants to support him for a great result.
"To win Flanders, first of all you have to be a great rider, but it's a race that you need to race on instinct. Sometimes it might look like a stupid move, but often it's the move. If you feel as though it's the moment, you have to go. It can be from a long way out, but it can happen anywhere," he said.
Mitchelton-Scott for the 2019 Tour of Flanders: Edoardo Affini, Jack Bauer, Michael Hepburn, Chris Juul-Jensen, Luka Mezgec, Robert Stannard, Matteo Trentin
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Thank you for signing up to Cycling News. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.