Liquigas will bring a loaded, young squad to the Vuelta a España, with stage victories and a run at the final podium on its to-do list.
Liquigas for Vuelta a España
Vincenzo Nibali (Ita)
Roman Kreuziger (Cze)
Daniele Bennati (Ita)
Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita)
Mauro Finetto (Ita)
Maciej Paterski (Pol)
Ivan Santaromita (Ita)
Frederik Willems (Bel)
Oliver Zaugg (Swi)
Third-place Giro d’Italia podium man Vincenzo Nibali and top-10 Tour de France runner Roman Kreuziger will both have options for a strong ride if things go their way.
Nibali skipped the Tour and should be motivated to confirm his breakout Giro performance while Kreuziger posted a second-straight top-10 at the Tour and will be hoping to leave Liquigas on a good note before heading to Astana next season.
Behind them will be Italian sprinters Daniele Bennati and up-and-comer Jacopo Guarnieri, who, at 23, won a stage at this year’s Tour of Poland. Bennati, meanwhile, will be keen to try to become a presence again in the mass sprints. He’s only won two races all season long and will have to really shine if he hopes to earn a spot on Italy’s deep world championships squad.
“We will be present on all fronts. Nibali is in good shape with ambitions for the overall while Kreuziger will have to see where he is,” said Liquigas sport director Mario Scirea. “Bennati was getting stronger throughout August and can be competitive in the sprints. Guarnieri is confronting his first grand tour, so the primary objective will be to gain experience. The remainder of the team will be riding in support roles and have some freedom.”
Nibali could be one of the top favorites for overall victory. A strong climber, an excellent descender and solid time trialist, Nibali is hot off victory at the Trofeo Melinda this week.
“I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself and I will take it kind of like I did the Giro and take it one day at a time,” Nibali said. “I’ve studied the route, but reality is something else, plus I’ve never raced it before. I feel strong on the bike and the form is growing.”