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Cunego, Niemiec and Anacona are set to lead the GC campaign while Ulissi and Ferrari will target stage wins

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DAMIANO CUNEGO

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DIEGO ULISSI

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GIRO D'ITALIA

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MANUELE MORI

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MATTEO BONO

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PRZEMYSLAW NIEMIEC

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ROBERTO FERRARI

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UAE TEAM EMIRATES

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WINNER ANACONA

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05.05.2014 @ 10:39 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Lampre-Merida will head into their home grand tour, the Giro d'Italia, with a very strong roster that should allow the Italian team to play a major role in most terrains. Damiano Cunego, Przemyslaw Niemiec and Winner Anacona will keep an eye on the overall standings while Diego Ulissi will target stage wins in the hilly stages and Roberto Ferrari focus on the sprints.

 

As an Italian team, Lampre-Merida head into one of their most important races of the year when they line up at the start of the Giro d'Italia in Belfast this coming Friday. The team has announced a star-studded roster to defend its colours throughout the three weeks on home soil.

 

Originally, the team was set to be led by Vuelta a Espana champion Chris Horner but a bad crash left the American with severe injuries that will see him miss his first objective of the year. This doesn't mean that Lampre-Merida will be without its chances in the GC though as they line up a three-pronged attack on the overall standings.

 

10 years on from his surprise win at the 2004 edition of the race, Damiano Cunego returns to his home race with a dual focus on the GC and stage wins. Having focused on the Tour de France in 2013, Cunego will again do the race that allowed him to grow to fame.

 

Cunego may no longer be a potential winner of the race but he is a solid top 10 contender, having finished 6th in the race two years ago. After a terrible 2013 season, he has returned to form in 2014 and hopes to build on his success in Italy.

 

Last year Przemyslaw Niemiec did a fantastic race that saw him finish 6th overall despite working in support of Michele Scarponi. This year he will enter the race with more of a leadership role and starts the race full of confidence after finishing 3rd in the Giro del Trenino.

 

The team's third GC option is young Colombian climber Winner Anacona who finished 19th in his debut grand tour at the 2012 Vuelta. In 2013 he was suffering from injuries but is now gradually returning to his best form and he has repeatedly stated his aim of finishing in the top 10 in Italy.

 

Diego Ulissi hopes to one day be a grand tour contender but for now the Italian will enter the Giro with a focus on stage wins. He already took one when he made his grand tour debut in Italy three years ago and since then he has developed to one of the leading contenders in hilly one-day races. His Ardennes campaign didn't live up to expectations and he hopes to make amends in his home race.

 

For the sprints, the team will focus on Roberto Ferrari who won a stage in the race two years ago. In his first year as a Lampre rider, he failed to cross the line in first position but after showing great condition in Romandie he is ready to take on the likes of Marcel Kittel and Elia Viviani.

 

The team will be completed by the two young climbers Mattia Cattaneo and Jan Polanc and veteran domestiques Manuele Mori and Matteo Bono.

 

Lampre-Merida for the Giro d'Italia

Damiano Cunego, Diego Ulissi, Przemyslaw Niemiec, Jan Polanc, Mattia Cattaneo, Winner Anacona, Matteo Bono, Manuele Mori and Roberto Ferrari

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