Cannondale-Drapac will be missing classics men Taylor Phinney and Sep Vanmarcke for Saturday's Milan-San Remo due to injury, but the green argyle team promises to light up La Classicissima regardless.
"Milano-Sanremo is a race of many outcomes. The last few years, it was a sprint but it's never certain. We can't predict it. There arrives 40 riders or three. It is always some surprise. For me, that is a key point of the race," sport director Fabrizio Guidi explained.
"I think we have riders to put up their hands for all the outcomes. We can be a surprise factor on Saturday."
The eight-man team will feature five debutants that will be backed up by three veterans riders: Simon Clarke, with five appearances, Kristijan Koren, with four, and Tom Van Asbroeck with one. Toms Skujins is one the debutants for the race and is sure to attract the television cameras as he will be carrying a Velon tracking device.
"Having Velon onboard at any race is awesome for the spectators," said Skujins. "Just having that extra amount of info on what's going on in the bunch makes watching on the telly a bit more exciting. The tracker is such a small thing to carry, but it provides a lot more excitement for my supporters, who can see in real time how hard I'm working and what it takes to be in the race."
Milan-San Remo is the third Italian one-day race of the season for the 25-year-old after Strade Bianche and GP Industria & Artigianato. The Latvian got a taste of the Monuments in 2016 at Tour of Flanders and Liege-Bastogne-Liege last year, explaining his excitement to line out at one of the biggest races on the calendar.
"I'm really looking forward to doing the 300 kilometers. It might sound silly, but I've never raced that long of a distance," said Skujins. "However, I'm most looking forward to opening the spring classics with the first Monument of the year. It's a huge race around the world and always a pleasure to spectate. I'm stoked be a part of the actors this time around."
Skujins is one of the team's candidates for the breakaway, alongside fellow debutant Will Clarke, with Alberto Bettiol and Simon Clarke to save their legs for the finale of the near 300km race. Nate Brown and Tom Scully are the other debutants and round out the eight-man team for the 108th edition of the race.
"It's a good team, with some more experienced than the others. It's a challenging race for everyone. We want an aggressive interpretation of the race," Guidi said. "For sure, we're not the team to control. Our interest is to be active and have riders like Alberto and Simon who are ready at the end."
Cyclingnews will have live coverage of Milan-San Remo with a full report, results, video highlights, photo gallery and news to follow.
Cannondale-Drapac for Milan-San Remo: Toms Skujins, Alberto Bettiol, Nate Brown, Simon Clarke, Will Clarke, Kristijan Koren, Tom Scully and Tom Van Asbroeck
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