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"The team will be joined in Belgium by two competitive cyclists in Ferrari and Wackermann. Roberto gave his contribution to the team's supremacy in Coppi e Bartali, despite a bruise on his side that was caused by the crash in Milan...

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ANDREA PALINI

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CLASSIC BRUGGE-DE PANNE

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DAVIDE CIMOLAI

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DAVIDE VIGANO

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ELIA FAVILLI

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LUCA WACKERMANN

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MASSIMO GRAZIATO

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ROBERTO FERRARI

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UAE TEAM EMIRATES

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26.03.2013 @ 11:43 Posted by Jesper Johannesen

With Lampre-Merida's captains for the Tour of Flanders resting ahead of Sunday's big objective, the Italian team bring in fresh legs to their classics roster for this week's Driedaagse van de Panne. While overall victory may be beyond the team's reach, they hope to be competitive in the bunch sprints.

 

The Lampre-Merida captains for the cobbled classics, Filippo Pozzato and Alessandro Petacchi, have both returned to Italy to finalize their preparations ahead of the Tour of Flanders and to forget the disappointments of their performances in E3 Prijs Vlaanderen and Gent-Wevelgem. Meanwhile, the remaining 6 riders in the team's classics roster remain in Belgium to compete in this week's Driedaagse van De Panne which starts today.

 

They will be joined by Roberto Ferrari and Luca Wackermann who arrive with plenty of confidence after being part of the team's dominant performance in last week's Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali where the team used stage wins by Diego Ulissi, Damiano Cunego and Adriano Malori to propel Ulissi and Cunego into the first two spots on the final podium.

 

With the GC in De Panne often determined by the final time trial, the team will struggle to make its presence felt in the fight for the overall honours. Instead, the team will aim at success in the three road stages preceding that final race against the clock.

 

Sprinter Ferrari will be the team's captain. The new signing has yet to win his first race for his new team, but he impressed with a strong 4th in the first bunch sprint in Tirreno-Adriatico and his strong condition was underlined by an encouraging performance in Milan-Sanremo where only a crash prevented his presence in the group sprinting for 8th. He will aim at the expected bunch sprints on the second and third stage, and with his strong climbing he should even remain in contention on today's hilly opening stage.

 

Sports director Fabrizio Bontempi is optimistic prior to the race start.

 

“The change of riders was part of our plan: Pozzato and Petacchi will train in Italy with their goal being the Tour of Flanders," he explained. "The team will be joined in Belgium by two competitive riders in Ferrari and Wackermann. Roberto gave his contribution to the team's supremacy in Coppi e Bartali, despite a bruise on his side that was caused by the crash in Milan-Sanremo. He could be competitive thanks to his mix of stamina and speed. Wackermann too performed a very good Coppi e Bartali and his shape could allow him to gain experience in Belgium.”

 

Ferrari and Wackermann will be joined by fast-finishers Davide Vigano, Davide Cimolai, Andrea Palini, Elia Favilli and Massimo Graziato - giving Ferrari a formidable lead-out train - and small climber Mattia Cattaneo.

 

Starting today at 14.45, you can follow all the action on CyclingQuotes.com/live. Until then, you can prepare by studying our preview.

 

Lampre-Merida for Driedaagse de Panne-Koksijde

Roberto Ferrari, Luca Wackermann, Mattia Cattaneo, Davide Vigano, Massimo Graziato, Elia Favilli, Andrea Palini and Davide Cimolai

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