Mark Cavendish takes centre stage in Omega Pharma-QuickStep’s line-up for the Giro d’Italia.
The Belgian team has built its nine-man line-up around Cavendish, with Gert Steegmans, Iljo Keisse and Matteo Trentin forming the heart of the Manx Missile’s leadout train.
Gianluca Brambilla, Michal Golas, Serge Pauwels, Jerome Pineau and Julien Vermote complete the squad.
“We start with a very good team built around Mark Cavendish,” said directeur sportif Davide Bramati. “The presence of a pure sprinter such as Mark will change our approach to the race if we compare it with our last participations.
“In any stage where we have a possibility, we have to try to do our best to go for the win.”
Cavendish goes into the race looking to add to the ten stage wins he has already accrued at the Italian Grand Tour.
Cavendish will also attempt to win the red jersey, having missed out by just a single point as a Team Sky rider in 2012, thereby completing a Grand Tour collection which already includes the points jerseys from the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia.
The 27-year-old enjoyed a fine start to life at Omega Pharma-QuickStep, winning four stages and the overall at the Tour of Qatar, but his sprint train has since faltered at Tirreno-Adriatico and the Scheldeprijs semi-Classic.
However, the team has tweaked Cavendish’s leadout going into the Giro and the 2011 world champion will start the race on Saturday with his sights set on a victory in Naples that would put him in the maglia rosa for the third time in his career.
Bramati added: “I think an immediate important moment will be the first stage in Napoli. Everyone wants to fight for the first pink jersey. The competition is fierce but we can count on a good group. We believe in our team and we will be there to try to fight and win.
“Beside Mark, we go into the race with experienced guys such as Golas and Pineau who have experience going for the stage victories at the Giro.
“We go into this race with a good group that will do their best for all possibilities in all stages.
“We have a good group of fighters prepared to do their jobs 100 percent. The motivation, commitment, and condition of the guys going into the Giro is good.”
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