Injury-stricken Daniele Bennati will not ride the Tour de France, his Liquigas team announced today.
The Italian sprinter is suffering from an inflammation of his left Achilles tendon. He started to feel the pain towards the end of the Giro d'Italia, where he won three stages as well as the best sprinter's jersey.
"I'm really sad to miss the race," he said. "Unfortunately, the strain of the Giro has caused my left leg to suffer, which is the one that had slightly less training because I injured it at the start of the year. I've spoken with the team and we all agree that it’s better to rest now and not risk the end of the season."
Bennati wanted to add the green jersey to his maglia ciclamino this year. Still, team manager Roberto Amadio reaffirmed his confidence in the rider. "I'm sure that he will come back successfully at the Vuelta," he said.
Despite missing Bennati, Liquigas has named a strong line up for the Tour, which starts in Brest on 5 July.
"We've put together a competitive team that should do well on the different routes in the Tour," said directeur sportif Stefano Zanatta. "We're aiming to win as many stages as possible, and we've got the right men to accomplish this goal."
Filippo Pozzato will be closely watched on the hilly stages of the Tour as he will try to repeat his feat of last year when he won stage five from Chablis to Autun. He will be assisted by Manuel Quinziato, the team’s asset for the time trials, as well as Frederik Willems from Belgium and Aliaksandr Kuchynski from Belarus.
Battling it out on the race’s 19 mountain ascents will be the Spanish rider Manuel Beltran, a veteran who is ready to offer his years of experience to help the two new riders to the Tour, Vincenzo Nibali and Roman Kreuziger, the recent winner of the Tour de Suisse.
Murilo Fischer and Francesco Chicchi will be Liquigas' sprinters to watch out for. In the absence of Bennati, the Brazilian and Italian will try to go for a stage win in the bunch finishes themselves.