Cannondale has confirmed its team and ambitions for Tirreno-Adriatico, with Rigoberto Uran targeting overall victory as the Colombian continued his build up to May's Giro d'Italia. Davide Formolo provides a second option for GC, while Simon Clarke, fresh from GP Industria & Artigianato victory, will captain the team.
Uran, who was 14th in his first appearance at the 'race of the two seas', was third overall at last year's edition of the race, having finished second on the queen stage to Castelraimondo. With Uran's season objective to win the Giro after two second places in 2013 and 2014, Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters explained the 29-year-old's role over the seven stages will involve helping Formolo finish as high as possible on GC.
"Rigo is the leader," Vaughters said. "Rigo is obviously very focused on the Giro and slowly working his way to that point. Unlike Uran, Formolo will look to take his chances sooner rather than later.
"Davide is a younger rider and would love to take his chances early in the season. I think Rigo's attitude on that is going to be, 'If I can help this guy in Tirreno then he'll be doubly loyal in the Giro.' But it's up to Formolo to show he can take on that level."
Uran and Cannondale's Giro team recently completed 18 days of altitude training on Mount Teide, and following the camp, Formolo is keen to test his form in the Italian stage race after 13th place in Sunday's GP Industria & Artigianato.
"For me, racing in Italy is always something special. I can trust my fans on the road, and they can help me psychologically. Rigo for me is like a teacher; I love to be his teammate and I can learn from him because he is really open," said Formolo who was 11th overall at Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in February. "My ambition in Tirreno is to check my level. It's my first WorldTour race in 2016, and I want to check my condition after the winter. I worked hard at home. I think I am ready."
Having helped Cannondale to the team classification and Michael Woods to fourth place at the Tour Down Under in January, Clarke explained he is excited for his first European stage race of the season and is expecting another strong team performance.
"We have a super team here and we knew that going into Larciano. And I think the effort by the whole team proved that everyone’s coming to Tirreno ready to go and ready to race," Clarke said. "We're really motivated from this victory and the form that everyone has to continue with some good riding this week in Tirreno."
The Cannondale team is rounded out by several versatile riders in Jack Bauer, Kristijan Koren, Sebastian Langeveld and Ramunas Navardauskas, who also offer options for stage wins. Completing the team is Italian Davide Villella, who will be called upon to support Uran and Formolo in the mountains.
Cyclingnews will have full race coverage of Tirreno-Adriatico from March 8 with race reports, results, photo galleries and news.
Cannondale for the 2016 Tirreno-Adriatico: Jack Bauer, Simon Clarke, Davide Formolo, Kristijan Koren, Sebastian Langeveld, Ramunas Navardauskas, Rigoberto Uran and Davide Villella.
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