Lampre has announced a co-sponsor that will become part of the team next year. It is the Italian wine and olive oil producer Farnese Vini.
Farnese Vini started its sponsorship as co-sponsor of Professional Continental team LPR Brakes. Danilo Di Luca and Alessandro Petacchi rode for that team. After the season 2009 the team disappeared and as Farnese Vini wished to continue sponsoring a team they became co-sponsors of Lampre.
"Adding our brand to a ProTour team such as Lampre is the best means to promote the image of our company, which exports its products to 67 countries," said Farnese Vini owner Valentino Sciotti. "Cycling has a extensive marketing reach that only few other sports can provide."
Damiano Cunego (pictured) and Alessandro Petacchi will be the leaders of the team. Petacchi raced for Team LPR, as said, and he will bring Lorenzo Bernucci, Alessandro Spezialetti and Daniele Pietropolli with him. Also Diego Ulissi, two-time Junior World champion, will race with the team.
Gent-Wevelgem plan to extend the length of the race. The semi-classic is used used to take place in the week after the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders), but next season the race will be run the Sunday before Ronde van Vlaanderen. The route will be 250 kilometres instead of a little over 200.
It won't be an easy race. It is never easy, of course. Race director Hans De Clerq told Het Nieuwsblad that "the most important course change is the length. We are still looking for some more passages, another cobblestone stretch here and there, but there will be no fundamental alteration made to the finale."
Kemmelberg will remain on the parcours. It will be climbed twice in the last part of the event. Normally the race ends with a group sprint, but it is not yet known what kind of race it will become. I think it will be interesting to watch, though.
In 2009 Germany’s André Greipel crashed during the third stage of the Tour Down Under. He dislocating his shoulder and suffering a deep cut on his elbow, which required minor surgery. He didn't race a lot this season due to the injuries.
In 2008 the German won the race. Next year Greipel will return to the South Australian race as he was revealed in Columbia-HTC’s likely lineup. I guess he would want to try to win the race again and I guess the audience won't be sad to see him again. After all he is a great sprinter and it will be exciting to watch. If I was around then I would surely be there to see him.
“After Greipel’s mishap at the race this year we are pleased he will be back in South Australia,” said race director Mike Turtur. “History shows that our race is a great start to Greipel’s season. In 2008 he took overall victory and this year started with a stage win in the 2009 Tour Down Under, and continued a winning form all season, with four stage wins at the Vuelta and a total of 20 victories.”
Another Team Columbia cyclist who is excepted to be there is the current Australian Time Trial Champion Michael Rogers. He claimed the race’s overall victory in 2002.
The team's cyclist (from Australia) Mark Renshaw, will once again take part in the race. Also the team’s new signing Matthew Goss and Hayden Roulston, from Australia and New Zealand, will be there.
“Hayden will be an asset to the team, being an accomplished track rider having won the silver medal in the men’s 4000m individual pursuit and a bronze medal in the men’s 4000m team pursuit at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.” Said Turtur.
The expected team contains of André Greipel, Michael Roger, Bernhard Eisel, Mark Renshaw, Matthew Goss, Marcel Sieberg and Hayden Roulston.