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"Cimolai and Ferrari will be our key riders for sprints: I know they had a good rest period, so I think they could aim for interesting results. It will be also interesting to evaluate Ulissi's competitiveness," sports director...

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DAVIDE CIMOLAI

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DIEGO ULISSI

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LUCA WACKERMANN

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MANUELE MORI

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MATTEO BONO

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RAFAEL VALLS

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ROBERTO FERRARI

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TOUR DOWN UNDER

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UAE TEAM EMIRATES

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27.12.2013 @ 12:47 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Roberto Ferrari will target success in the sprints while Diego Ulissi will start the build-up towards his major aims of the season when Lampre-Merida line up in the Santos Tour Down Under in January. Manuel Mori and Rafael Valls Ferri will both be keen to focus on the GC while Davide Cimolai will be on hand to support Ferrari in the bunch kicks.

 

Lampre-Merida has selected a strong team for the Tour Down Under which will kick off the season for the Italian team. The team will line up a roster that has opportunities in both the flat and the hilly stages in the six-day race.

 

The main star in the line-up is Diego Ulissi who dominated the late autumn season in Italy by winning Milan-Turin, Coppa Sabatini and Giro dell'Emilia. In 2014, he will focus on the Ardennes classics and will use the Tour Down Under to start his build-up in a season that could give him his first major victory in a big classic.

 

However, the Australian race probably comes a bit too early for Ulissi to target the overall win.

 

“I’m really excited to live the Australian experience: it will be my first time in the land down under," he said. "I travelled a lot during my career, but the Australian challenge gives me new spurs.

 

“Talking about my aims, it’s necessary to consider that the Santos Tour Down Under comes very early in the season, so it won’t so easy to go there to get a result, but of course I won’t brake if there will be the chance to battle for a very good performance. Tour Down Under is a very interesting race due to its courses and the chance it gives to the riders to improve their condition under the heat."

 

Ulissi will, however, not be the only option for Lampre-Merida on the hilly stages in the race that contains a summit finish on Old Willunga Hill. Manuele Mori excels in this kind of terrain while Spanish climber Rafael Valls Ferri will make his debut for the Italian team.

 

On the flat stages, the team will again focus on Roberto Ferrari who made his debut for the team in the 2012 edition of the Australian race. On that occasion he failed to win a stage but will try to make up for that in 2013 when he goes up against the likes of Marcel Kittel and Andre Greipel. He will be supported by Davide Cimolai in the sprints.

 

“With the team focusing on stage wins for Ferrari, I expect Lampre-Merida will be targeting BikeExchange.com.au Stage 2 and Bupa Stage 4 as the likelihood of a bunch sprint finish is high,” race director Mike Turtur said.

 

“Ferrari will also be joined by Diego Ulissi who had a brilliant season in 2013 with six stage wins, including the first stage of the Tour of Poland and victory at Milano-Torino. Lampre-Merida also has a good contender for the Ochre Jersey in Spaniard Rafael Valls Ferri who finished only 53 seconds behind winner Tom-Jelte Slagter in the 2013 Santos Tour Down Under.”

The team will be completed by domestiques Matteo Bono and Luca Wackermann to make it an all-European roster.

 

“It’s fantastic to see so many European cyclists wish to start their season at the Santos Tour Down Under as the first UCI World Tour event of the season,” Turtur said. “We have already announced that some of the world’s best cyclists including Cadel Evans and Frank Schleck will be competing and I think 2014 is shaping up to be one of the best line-ups in the event’s history.”

 

Ulissi is convinced that his team will have an impact on the race.

 

"Team Lampre-Merida could be very competitive, considering that in the team there will be two fast riders in Ferrari and Cimolai, Mori that likes a mixed courses and three strong athletes such Bono, Valls and Wackermann. So, let’s start the season in a good way in Australia," he said.

 

"Cimolai and Ferrari will be our key riders for sprints: I know they had a good rest period, so I think they could aim for interesting results," sports director Bruno Vicino added. "It will be also interesting to evaluate Ulissi's competitiveness and the one form of Mori, Bono and Wackermann, who will all have freedom to chase a result. Welcome to Valls in his first race with Lampre-Merida."

 

The Tour Down Under kicks off on January 21 and ends on January in Adelaide:

 

Lampre-Merida for the Tour Down Under:

  • Diego Ulissi (Italy)
  • Matteo Bono (Italy)
  • Davide Cimolai (Italy)
  • Roberto Ferrari (Italy)
  • Manuele Mori (Italy)
  • Rafael Valls Ferri (Spain)
  • Luca Wackermann (Italy)

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