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"I will have a firm focus on the classics in the first part of the season, and for me it will primarily be on Milan-Sanremo. It is my dream race, and I would like to perform really well," Bennati says






13.03.2013 @ 14:50 Posted by Kenneth Meyer

Daniele Bennati joins Matti Breschel as Team Saxo-Tinkoff's captains for this year's cobbled classics, but one race has a special place in the Italian's heart: Las classica di Primavera (Milan-Sanremo).


With new signing Daniele Bennati and returning Matti Breschel Team Saxo-Tinkoff has recruited to riders able to compete for victory in the biggest spring classics.


The duo fills a gaping hole which was evident in last year's races and which was made deeper prior to this season with Nick Nuyens leaving to join Garmin-Sharp.


But while the strong Danish one-day rider Matti Breschel prefers the cobbled climbs in the Tour of Flanders, the 32-year old Italian sprinter Daniele Bennati points to his home race Milan-Sanremo as his favourite race. He has participated several times during his 11 years as a professional, and with a 5th and 6th place in 2010 and 2009 respectively, he has demonstrated his ability to compete with the best along the Mediterranean coast. A position in the top 10 in the most recent edition proves that he still has what it takes.


This creates plenty of optimism for the former domestique in Mario Cipollini's train who has since developed to a sprinter in his own right. Hence, the race known as La Primavera is the first fix point in the Italian's calendar.


"I will have a firm focus on the classics in the first part of the season, and for me it will primarily be on Milan-Sanremo," Bennati tells in an exclusive interview with "It is my dream race, and I would like to perform really well."


Harder race

"During the last couple of years the race has been a lot harder - especially with the introduction of the Le Manie climb. When my condition is good, it does, however, not bother me - even if I am a sprinter," he explains.

"The pure sprinters are disadvantaged with the harder finale, and so min dream scenario for this year's race is to arrive at the finish in a 15-rider group which has to decide the race."


Until now Bennati - like fellow classics captain Breschel - has lain low, and his only top 10 results have been obtained in the team time trials in the Tour of Qatar and Tirreno-Adriatico. In the latter, he planned to participate in the bunch sprints, but failed to play any role, and he was left to focus on his domestique duties for team captain Alberto Contador. Like most other Milan-Sanremo contenders, he chose to abandon in the harsh conditions on Monday, not wanting to risk anything with just one week to his major objective.


Sunday we will know if it was the right preparation when he attempts to be the first Italian winner since Filippo Pozzato in 2006.


In the race he will be joined by Michael Mørkøv, Matteo Tosatto, Manuele Boaro, Anders Lund, Benjamin Noval, Michael Rogers and Breschel. All attention will be focused on delivering the two captains in the perfect position when the going gets tough at the foot of Le Manie.


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