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“Elia’s a great climber as well. Certainly this year he’s proved he’s more than just a sprinter. Dall’Antonia’s here and he showed in the lead outs at the Giro that he’s s weapon," Cameron Wurf...

Photo: Unipublic / Graham Watson












09.10.2013 @ 16:39 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Cannondale will head to the Tour of Beijing with a two-pronged strategy. While Ivan Basso hopes to make up for his Vuelta disappointment by performing well on GC, Elia Viviani has set his sights on a continuation of his winning streak in the Beijing sprints.


Cannondale have covered all their bases for this year's Tour of Beijing where they will line up a team that has options on both the flat and hilly stages. Ivan Basso and Elia Viviani are set to headline a strong roster for the Italian team that has clearly given the final WorldTour race great priority.


Basso will be determined to make up for a disastrous season. A perennial cyst forced him out of his major season target at the Giro before the race had even begun and he had to rebuild his condition from scratch for the second half of the season.


He showed great form in the Vuelta a Burgos and looked like the old Ivan Basso who had twice won the Giro d'Italia, in the early part of the Vuelta when he even appeared to be a potential winner of the race. However, he suffered what he described as the biggest disappointment of his career when he had to abandon the race due to hypothermia on the brutally cold stage to Andorra.


He suffered another disappointment when  he didn't get selected for the world championships but showed no signs on slowing down in Sunday's Il Lombardia where he was one of the strongest climbers and finished 11th from the group that sprinted for 6th. He now hopes to finally take a win in the Tour of Beijing that will be the penultimate race of a season that will end at the Japan Cup.


Basso is well-suited to this year's course which is the toughest in the race's three-year history and includes a maiden summit finish on a 15km climb. He will be well-supported by future grand tour star Damiano Caruso and former rower Cameron Wurf.


The team's second goal is to win a stage with Elia Viviani who is the only riders besides double overall winner Tony Martin to win stages in the two first editions of the race. Last year he won the opening stage in front of the Olympic Stadium in central Beijing and he hopes to replicate that success with the support of riders like Tiziano Dall'Antonia, Daniele Ratto and Caruso who is also a fast sprinter.


Wurf was part of the team that won last year's stage in Beijing and he has fond memories of the stage that finished near the scene for his exploits as a rower in the 2008 Olympics.


“I was here when he won his first stage and I knew we were going to win because the finish was at the Olympic Rowing Centre,”  he said. “With about a kilometer to go we still had seven guys on the front of the bunch. We didn’t even need a train, Sagan got second. It would be great if we could have another day like that. Maybe we could go one better with first, second, third with Ratto and Caruso.”


This year's tougher course offers less opportunities for the sprinters but as Viviani proved when he won a stage in the Criterium du Dauphiné, he can also take his chances on hillier stages.


 “Elia’s a great climber as well,” Wurf said. “Certainly this year he’s proved he’s more than just a sprinter. Dall’Antonia’s here and he showed in the lead outs at the Giro that he’s s weapon. We’ve got a great team for the harder sprints so we’re pretty excited about that."


The team is completed by young neo-pros Michel Koch and Matthias Krizek. The Tour of Beijing kicks off on Friday with a flat stage.



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