Roman Kreuziger will lead Astana in a push for the final podium when the Giro d’Italia ends in Milano on May 29.
Kreuziger made the switch from Liquigas to Astana in large part to have the room to make a run for the GC as a sole team leader, something he wasn’t expecting at Liquigas where Ivan Basso and Vicenzo Nibali rule the roost.
“We have a big responsibility for this race, because we aim for the GC with our leader Roman Kreuziger. Our primary goal is the podium. Roman is a young leader, but I really trust him, I know he is well prepared and is in good condition,” said Astana sport director Giuseppi Martinelli in a team release.
“Our second goal is the Team Classification. We have a strong group, with riders who can claim good results for the ranking. These are all the riders who were in the Giro del Trentino 2011 and the Kazakh Alexandr Dyachenko coming from Tour of Turkey. ”
Martinelli said Kiserlovski, Tiralongo, Jufre and Masciarelli will all be there to support Kreuziger in the mountains, while Stangelj, Petrov and Gourov will work in the flat stages.
Kiserlovksi was cleared by team doctors to race after undergoing MRI exams this week that revealed a a bruise, not a crack as previously thought, in his vertebra dating back to his high-speed crash at Paris-Nice. He skipped the Tour de Romandie, but doctors assure he’s ready to race.
“The team doctor Andrea Andreazzoli showed that MRI to a specialist who told us that it is not actually a crack, but a big bruise,” explains Martinelli. “Robert took advantage of last week to rest, and he had one thing in mind, to be in shape for the Giro. He took this decision alone to participate in the Giro, nobody has put any pressure on him and there is no medical complication.”
Martinelli also said that Dyachenko, who revealed strong form at the Tour of Turkey last week, was a last-minute replacement for Fredrik Kessiakof.
Astana for Giro d’Italia: Roman Kreuziger, Alexandr Dyachenko, Maxim Gourov, Josep Jufre, Roberto Kiserlovski, Francesco Masciarelli, Evgeny Petrov, Gorazd Stangelj, Paolo Tiralongo