"If we come away from the Tour of Italy with at least one stage win and some time in the overall lead, I’ll be happy" says team manager Rolf Aldag.
"But we really want to make a big impact in the first week, so that we can head into the second part of the Giro without feeling too much pressure. We’ve got our eye on the team time trial in Venice, particularly after winning the same event in the Tour of Romandie, and then in the first couple of flat stages, we’ll be going 100 percent all out with Mark [Cavendish] as well."
As for the overall classification, Kanstantsin Sivtsov will be Columbia-Highroad?s main contender. "He finished seventeenth in last year’s Tour and he will have the team’s full support. As always with Columbia-Highroad, everybody has a chance" continued Aldag. "At the same time, we’ll be looking to see what [former World Time trial Champion] Michael [Rogers] can do. I spoke to him just after Liege-Bastogne-Liege, he’s in good shape and he’s fully recovered from the fever that prevented him racing in Fleche and Liege. I know he’s been checking out some of the tougher stages and time trial stages in the Giro by himself, and I know he’s enthusiastic about this race."
But for Columbia-Highroad, racing is never just about success in the present. The team will also be fielding the talented young Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen in the 2009 Giro d’Italia , which will be his first ever major Tour. Already the winner of the Ghent-Wevelgem Classic this year, and six races in 2008, Boasson Hagen will celebrate his 22nd birthday mid-way through the Giro. "Edvald’s under no pressure at all, although it would be great if he could finish. Really I’m more interested in him getting in a break in the second half of the race than his trying to hang on to an overall placing and riding conservatively. As one of our younger riders, we want him to get as much experience racing as possible, in all sorts of situations. That?s important for his future, and for the team’s future, too."
Columbia-Highroad for the Tour of Italy: Michael Barry (Can); Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor); Mark Cavendish (GB); Thomas Lovkvist (Swe); Marco Pinotti (Ita); Morris Possoni (Ita); Mark Renshaw (Aus); Michael Rogers (Aus); Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Byl).
website: Giro d’Italia