Bennati eyes Vuelta sprint success with Radioshack
Radioshack Nissan Trek have announced an ambitious line-up for the Vuelta a Espana beginning this weekend, with sprinter Daniele Bennati eyeing further stage success in Spain.
Team director Jose Azevedo is hopeful of success for Bennati and confident that their three-strong selection of riders bidding for glory in the general classification - Maxime Monfort, Linus Gerdemann and Tiago Machado - have the variety to make an impact.
He said: "In theory six out of the 21 stages can conclude in a bunch sprint. Daniele has already won five stages in the Tour of Spain in the past. We hope to see him knit on a sixth one somewhere between Pamplona and Madrid.
"We bring a diverse team to the start. Monfort, Gerdemann and Machado are our three GC riders and we will try to bring them in the best possible position to defend their overall ambitions.
“Maxime is very motivated for the Vuelta and with his 6th place overall in 2011, he proved to be a strong Grand Tour racer. He took a large break after the Tour, in order to be fresh both physically and mentally.
“With 11 altitude finishes the route will suit Tiago Machado very well too. Tiago is ready for this race. The Vuelta has been his goal for the whole season and he is confident. The key stages for him - and for everyone else - will be the Asturian stages.
“Gerdemann, finally, came out of the Eneco Tour with very good feelings. He was at the front in every stage and that is always a good sign."
He continued: "Our three GC riders will be surrounded by a nice group of helpers with Bakelants, Didier, Irizar, Rast and Roulston.
“These five riders will at times be allowed to defend their chances as well and fight for stage wins. Jan Bakelants in particular is an expert at that. He has been very close to victory in every Grand Tour he has ridden."
Full squad: Daniele Bennati, Jan Bakelants, Laurent Didier, Linus Gerdemann, Markel Irizar, Tiago Machado, Maxime Monfort, Greg Rast, Hayden Roulston