Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) is looking to add to his Monument wins tomorrow at Liège-Bastogne-Liège and his team are sending a strong line-up to help support the Italian in his bid.
Lining up alongside Nibali are the Izagirre brothers – Ion and Gorka, Giovanni Visconti, Domenico Pozzovivo, Franco Pellizotti and Enrico Gasparotto.
The route for the fourth of the five Monuments of the season will be almost 260 kilometres in length with 11 côtes, four of which have slopes of more than 10%. The race should light up in the last forty kilometres, as riders will face the Côte de la Redoute, 2 kilometres long at 9%, and with 19km to go the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons which is 1,300 meters at 11%.
With 5 kilometres remaining, the bunch will climb the Côte de Saint-Nicolas (1,200 metres at 8.6%) before the final climb of the Côte d’Ans a long straight uphill before the last corner and the finish another 200 metres after.
“We come to this Liège at a time when the Team is getting good results in the various races in which it participates,” explained Bahrain Merida General Manager Brent Copeland. “The athletes and staff have worked very well and I think we are ready. There are several riders, like the Izagirre brothers, Giovanni Visconti and Enrico Gasparotto, who can do well and obviously Vincenzo who looks to win.”
Vincenzo Nibali will hope to add to his Milan-San Remo from earlier this season.
“This is a race I’ve always dreamed of winning,” said Nibali. “It’s like Lombardia because when you’re on the finish line you know you’ve given it all. You need a perfect day on a route that this year seems more suitable for less explosive riders and therefore more for climbers like me.”