Liquigas-Cannondale brings a squad loaded with firepower in a bid to defend its Giro d’Italia crown.

It will be up to Vincenzo Nibali to carry the team colors after defending champion Ivan Basso decided to skip the Giro in order to prepare exclusively for the Tour de France. Third last year at the Giro and a winner at the Vuelta a España, Nibali will be one of the top favorites for victory.

“We have prepared for the event in the best way. We are motivated and aware of the challenge before us,” said sport director Alberto Volpi. “It’s a hard route full of pitfalls. The crucial week will be the last, loaded with rugged climbs. None of the stages can be underestimated. I am convinced until the last day the Giro will not be decided.”

Volpi said the team has one goal: to win the pink jersey again. To reach that end, the squad brings a balanced team designed to work for Nibali in all terrain. Fabio Sabatini will have some freedom to try his luck in the bunch sprints, but for the rest, it’s all for “Vince Nibbles.”

“We want to support Nibali in every type of stage, from the flats to the mountains. Everyone knows their role and will be prepared,” Volpi said. “We have three excellent climbers with Capecchi, Salerno and Szmyd. Everyone will be there to support Vicenzo.”

Liquigas-Cannondale for Giro d’Italia: Vincenzo Nibali, Valerio Agnoli, Eros Capecchi, Tiziano Dall’Antonia, Alan Marangoni, Fabio Sabatini, Cristiano Salerno, Sylwester Szmyd, Alessandro Vanotti