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Milano-Sanremo: Know Your Startlists

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This being our first Monument Week of the year, I plan to lead into the preview slowly, and anyway it'll require a couple days of chewing on the rider lists before I can try to say anything useful. So with that in mind, here's a couple ideas about how to determine who's planning to roll out of the Piazza Duomo next Saturday:

  • The usual suspect: Cycling Fever is working on it. Honestly, this is about as good as it's gonna get at the moment. The Gazzetta Grande Ciclismo has nothing; Cycling News hasn't put the link up yet, and CyclingFever is pretty reliable at chasing down info.
  • The teams, we know: NGC, AG2R, Barloworld, Bweeg, Credit Ag, Cofidis, CSF, Caisse d'Epargne, FdJeux, Euskaltel, Gerolsteiner, High Road, Lampre, LPR, Liquigas, Quick Step, Rock Racing, Rabobank, Saunier Duval, Serramenti, *lotto, Slipstream, CSC, Milram, and Tinkoff.

Full team-by-team roundups... but it's a tad long, so proceed to the flip:

  • NGC: Nobody listed yet, not that I would know them if they were.
  • AG2R: Full team listing! Nocentini is the team's hot hand, after finishing second in Paris-Nice, but Martin Elminger has a couple top-20 finishes the last two editions.
  • Barloworld: Robbie Hunter, Baden Cooke and Enrico Gasparotto are the only names listed. Update [2008-3-18 10:7:15 by chris]: completed! All three can sprint, so the rest of the names will probably just be carrying water for these guys.
  • Bweeg: Full list! But it's hard to decide who to mention. Geslin took 29th two years ago?? Look for them in the early breaks.
  • Credit Agricole: Thor Hushovd and William Bonnet are the only guys listed. Update [2008-3-18 10:7:15 by chris]: completed! Hunt, Botcharov... Bonnet removed. Big Thor, with a 3rd place in 2005, is their best shot. Jeremy Hunt is a top-20 guy, so expect his name to join the list soon.
  • Cofidis: Just Dumoulin and Verbrugge so far. Update [2008-3-18 10:7:15 by chris]: completed! Nuyens, Chavanel, Monfort... I suppose there are plenty of ways they could go. Nuyens is their big Classics guy and Chavanel is the hot hand after a nice week last week, but neither has any history of success in MSR.
  • CSF: Full listing! Sella can't be ignored, with a 26th a few years back. Richeze could surprise. Baliani... meh. Is Paride Grillo still hurt? Anyway, they'll have an interesting lineup.
  • Caisse d'Epargne: Lastras and Rojas Gil are the only names so far. The former has a 25th in his palmares; Rojas could also make the finale, though he never has yet. Not a good race for them regardless.
  • FdJeux: Partial listing. Gilbert will be itching to get away on the Poggio or sooner. Meersman can win a sprint, but he's a bit green for La Classicissima. Doubtful they'll try to field more than Gilbert and some support.
  • Euskaltel: Full team! But I can't recall if any of them could sprint.
  • Gerolsteiner: Just Haussler and Wegmann listed so far. Update [2008-3-18 10:7:15 by chris]: completed! Kohl, Rebellin, Schreck, Schumacher! They had bodies flying all over the Cipressa last year, IIRC, so one could understand if they're reluctant to add to the list. Still, Wegmann and Rebellin would be long shots.
  • High Road: Gerald Ciolek is the only name so far. Last year Kim Kirchen launched his score-at-every-Classics campaign here, and they have plenty of other sprinters to add to the list. But I have a sneaky suspicion they want Ciolek to give it a real go. Not that there's anything on their website, ever.
  • Lampre: Napolitano! A clear favorite for the win, which explains why nobody else is listed. Nothing will stop Unibrow, regardless of who his teammates are! I suppose Ballan would love to try something and I'd expect to see him take the start.
  • LPR: Just DiLuca listed. Pietropolli? Spezialetti? Who the hell knows. But this guy at least sounds fast.
  • Liquigas: Pozzato is the lone name, and his 2006 win makes him a permanent fixture on the favorites' short list. But you'd expect Bennati to show his face here too.
  • Quick Step: Boonen, Bettini and Tosatto... need to know any more? Well, OK, one thing: will Steegmans be there too? Update [2008-3-18 10:7:15 by chris]: completed! And Steegmans is a go!
  • Rock Racing: Cipollini! Just days removed from his last win here... OK, it was 2002. But hey, I remember 2002. That's not so long ago, is it? Update [2008-3-18 10:7:15 by chris]: Rumors that Cipo is dumping Rock Racing. If true, is there any chance of them getting an invite??
  • Rabobank: Freire is the whole story, though it at least seems like Flecha has a go every year here. At least they've turned in their roster.
  • Saunier Duval: Ricco and Mori so far. The former is a poor fit and has a sore back. In fact, I doubt he'll start. Mori is one of those names you can expect to see in the top 20. He was 10th two years back.
  • Serramenti: Nardello, Hondo, couple others so far. Nothing too exciting.
  • Silence! Lotto: Full listing! McEwen isn't as successful here as you might expect, though it's a bit early in the year for him to show his top form. The rest of these guys are tuning up for the Flemish calendar.
  • Slipstream: Full list! Backstedt and Dean are the most interesting names, though either one would need something like a miracle.
  • CSC: Full listing! Cancellara is the captain, if only by default and through some sense that there's nothing he can't do, in theory.
  • Milram: The Petacchi lead-out train will be ready for action. Ale-Jet is running low on chances, and will want this one badly. Only such a story could stop us from talking about how Erik Zabel once owned this race in fee simple.
  • Tinkoff: Seven names so far, and both Loddo and Ignatiev are interesting.