By Andrew Hood
Don’t expect to see Floyd Landis ripping through any races in the coming months.
Fresh off impressive back-to-back wins at Tour of California and Paris-Nice, the Phonak captain said races such as the Giro d’Italia will strictly be for preparation for July’s Tour de France.
“My plan is to do the Giro, but primarily as training and nothing else. So don’t expect to see much of me at the Giro,” Landis said at a post-race press conference.
Landis also has Criterium International penciled into his schedule at the end of this month. If the past few years are any indication, anyone coming out strong in Paris-Nice has a good shot at winning the two-day, three-stage race in northeast France.
Last year, Bobby Julich won Paris-Nice and then took Criterium. In 2004, Jens Voigt came off a fourth-place at Paris-Nice two win stages and the overall at Criterium.
After Criterium International, Landis is scheduled to return to the United States before ramping up for the Tour de Georgia, then return to Europe for the Giro and pre-Tour training camps. He will not race Dauphine Libere or the Tour de Suisse.
“Floyd wants to do the Giro, but more so for the preparation ahead of the Tour,” Phonak sport director Juan Fernández told VeloNews. “The Giro is a good preparation for the Tour, with hard climbs and good stages. Sure, if there’s an opportunity to win a stage or make a test, we will, but the most important thing is to come out of the Giro strong for the Tour.”
Phonak for Milan-San RemoMartin ElmigerBert GrabschFabrizio GuidiRobert HunterAxel MerckxUros MurnMiguel Angel PerdigueroGregory Rast
Bettini hopeful; Boonen on recon’
Quick Step-Innergetic faces this weekend’s Milan-San Remo not knowing the fate of Paolo Bettini, who crashed hard Friday at Tirreno-Adriatico.
“It’s too bad about Bettini because he was really flying,” Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefevere told VeloNews. “He has his confidence back and he’s back in top condition. We are still hopeful, but even if he races, he still won’t be 100 percent.”
A determined Bettini was hopeful, and promised to push through the pain to make it to the start line Saturday in Milan.
“The injuries are causing intense pain and the situation is worrisome, above all for a race as demanding as Milan-San Remo, when you have to be on the bike for seven hours,” Bettini told reporters. “I will go to Milan on Friday and Saturday I will take the start. Whether I make it to San Remo remains to be seen.”
“I’m feeling better every day, even if I’m still in pain. It’s bad luck that the Milan-San Remo is the longest race of the season. I hope the pain will not hamper my performance.”
Bettini, 31, won Milan-San Remo in 2003.
Tom Boonen, meanwhile, got a huge confidence-boost coming out of Paris-Nice, where he won three stages in four days and abandoned early in Sunday’s final stage to forfeit his point’s jersey.
Boonen was scheduled to make a final recon tour of the final section of the Milan-San Remo course Monday with teammates ahead of the season’s first classic.
The reigning world champion already has 10 wins in the bag and will try to do something that’s only been done five times in history: win on the Via Roma wearing the rainbow jersey.
Giuseppe Saronni last did it in 1983. Eddy Merckx won twice in the rainbow jersey, in 1972 and 1975, with Felice Gimondi winning in 1974. Alfredo Binda was the first to earn the distinction in 1931.
Gerolsteiner: All for Rebellin
Gerolsteiner will be betting on veteran Davide Rebellin to fight for a spot on the final podium in Saturday’s Milan-San Remo. The German team brings a strong squad and could spring a surprise on the main favorites.
Joining Rebellin will be Markus Zberg, fresh off his win in Sunday’s finale at Paris-Nice, as well as young guns Heinrich Haussler, Stefan Schumacher and Fabian Wegmann.
Gerolsteiner for Milan-San RemoDavide RebellinHeinrich HausslerMarkus ZbergStefan SchumacherFabian WegmannDavid KoppPeter WrolichAndrea Moletta
Cancellara lead CSC
Fabian Cancellara – winner of Sunday’s time trial at Tirenno-Adriatico – will be the best bet for Team CSC at Saturday’s Milan-San Remo. The Swiss rider has proven he can be a factor in long distances, finishing fourth in the 2004 Paris-Roubaix.
Team CSC for Milan-San RemoKurt-Asle ArvesenFabian CancellaraVolodymir GustovAllan JohansenKarsten KroonMarcus LjungqvistAndrea PeronFrank Schleck Simoni to start MSR
Giro d’Italia favorite Gilberto Simoni will start “La Primavera” for Saunier Duval-Prodir. While most of the grand tour contenders avoid the high-speed roulette along the Italian Riviera, Simoni wants to take advantage of the long course to put in some hard race miles ahead of more important goals later this season.
Saunier Duval-Prodir for Milan-San RemoGilberto SimoniRubens BertogliatiRiccardo RiccòGuido TrentinFrancisco VentosoÁngel GómezManuele Mori