Omega-Pharma Quick-Step left no doubt about their aims for overall success with Rigoberto Uran at this month’s Giro d’Italia after naming their team on Monday.
Colombian Uran, who finished second last year when riding for Team Sky, initially as support for Bradley Wiggins before he pulled out with illness, will be supported by four specialist climbers to help him through the high mountain stages.
“Our approach to the race has changed. It’s the first time for many years that we’ve had a rider who was on the podium the year before,” said sports director Davide Bramati.
“We have a group of climbers in Serge Pauwels, Gianluca Brambilla, Wout Pols and Pieter Serry, whose aim is to accompany Uran in the high mountains.”
Alongisde Movistar’s Nairo Quintana, who was second at last year’s Tour de France, and BMC’s Cadel Evans, the Tour winner in 2011, Uran is one of the favourites for victory in the Giro, which begins in Belfast on Friday.
However, his recent form has not been particularly impressive after finishing 14th in last week’s Tour de Romandie, 3min 50sec behind winner Chris Froome, his former Sky team-mate.
However, back in February he had a decent third placed finish in the Tour of Oman, just 31sec behind winner Froome.
Omega’s eggs won’t quite be all in the same basket as they also have Belgian Thomas De Gendt, who was third in the 2012 Giro, in their ranks.
“He knows the course, which could help Uran,” added Bramati.
Gianluca Brambilla (ITA), Thomas De Gendt (BEL), Iljo Keisse (BEL), Serge Pauwels (BEL), Alessandro Petacchi (ITA), Wout Poels (NED), Pieter Serry (BEL), Rigoberto Uran (COL), Julien Vermote (BEL)