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Pinotti, Greipel to lead HTC at Giro

Marco Pinotti and André Greipel will lead HTC-Columbia at the 2010 Giro d’Italia, where American Craig Lewis will make his grand-tour debut.

Marco Pinotti and André Greipel will lead HTC-Columbia at the 2010 Giro d’Italia, where American Craig Lewis will make his grand-tour debut.

A recent stage winner in the Tour of Romandie, Pinotti says his first goal in his sixth Giro d’Italia start is to test his strength in the first week, where he will be targeting the opening prologue.

“My feelings are good, particularly at this point in the Tour of Romandie, and in the first week while we’ll be looking for stage wins in the sprints with André, I’ll be looking out for some good performances in the time trials. My form’s a bit better than this time last year, and getting that early win in Romandie has made me more confident, too,” Pinotti said in a team release.

“The second part of the Giro is definitely more for climbers, but with age my endurance is steadily improving and I’ll have to see how far I can go. The first big mountaintop finish at the Terminillo (stage eight) will be the real test of whether I can stay high up on the overall classification without killing myself, or whether I have to switch to plan ‘B’.”

Like Pinotti, Greipel was a stage winner in the Giro back in 2008 and the German says he has the same initial objective in 2010.

“First I want a stage victory, nothing more than that, and afterwards we’ll see about the points jersey. I don’t rule it out, but I know it’s a very hard third week with a lot of mountains and I will take it day by day. I’ve got a great team there for the leadouts, we’ll be having a big effect on the final kilometers of all the flat stages.”

Compared with when he started the Giro two years ago, Greipel says, “I’m a very different rider. I’ve got a lot more self-confidence … I’ve been to Italy on holiday, I like the country and its people, and like all Germans, I love Italian food. Personally, I’m looking forward to a nice tomato mozzarella caprese.”

Helping Greipel setting up the sprints will be Vicente Reynes, Matthew Goss and Marcel Sieberg.

The squad will be one of the favorites for victory in the team time trial, with strong motors Pinotti, Adam Hansen and Frantisek Rabon.

Once the Giro hits the mountains, Michael Albasini and American Lewis will step to the fore. Lewis is particularly keen on showing what he can do in the higher, long-distance climbs in the final week.

HTC-Columbia for Giro d’Italia

Michael Albasini

Matthew Goss

André Greipel

Adam Hansen

Craig Lewis

Marco Pinotti

Frantisek Rabon

Vicente Reynes

Marcel Sieberg