Shorts: Cunego, Di Luca, McEwen, Kirsipuu

ilan-San Remo latest: Martinelli plays down Cunego's chances, Di Luca out with dental problem, McEw

ilan-San Remo latest: Martinelli plays down Cunego's chances, Di Luca out with dental problem, McEw

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Lampre team manager Giuseppe Martinelli is not counting out an offensive by his team leader Damiano Cunego in the latter stages of Milan-San Remo, but believes that it will be difficult to prevent the sprinters ruling the day. "I wouldn't rule out an attack from Damiano on the Cipressa a priori, but I don't think that it's likely," Martinelli told procycling. "I fully expect Milram and Quick Step to all but 'block' the race for Boonen and Petacchi.

"Also, these days they ride up the Cipressa at 40kph and you have to be in exceptional form to get away. Bertagnolli or Bettini are in that kind of form - at least Bettini did before his accident - but not Damiano. San Remo is a race that I'd like Damiano to get to know with an eye to the future, because he'll be capable of winning some of the biggest races on the one-day calendar in years to come. I'd be very happy if he got off his bike on Saturday evening and said to me 'I like this race'."

- Last year's ProTour winner Danilo Di Luca definitely won't be launching an attack at any point in Milan-San Remo as he has been ruled out by an oral infection. After an orthodontic radiograph and a medical check-up following Tirreno-Adriatico, he was diagnosed as having granulomatous periodontitis, and doctors had to make an incision in the left superior dental arch to ease the Italian's discomfort. Di Luca will have to take antibiotics for five days. The Liquigas team will now comprise Magnus Backstedt, Kjell Carlstrm, Stefano Garzelli, Matej Mugerli, Vincenzo Nibali, Luca Paolini, Franco Pellizotti and Stefano Zanini.

- The organisers of the Tour of Catalonia (May 15-20) have shown their support for their country's continental professional teams by inviting all five of them to their race, which will now start with a field of 200 riders. Comunitat Valenciana, Relax, Andalucia-Paul Versa, Kaiku and 3 Molinos Resort will line up alongside the 20 ProTour teams.

- An x-ray has revealed that Robbie McEwen has broken the fifth rib on his right side. The break occurred when the Davitamon-Lotto sprinter crashed on the final stage of the Three Days of West Flanders. The injury will not prevent the Australian, who was second on the final stage of Tirreno on Tuesday, from starting Milan-San Remo.

- Another sprinter, though, has been forced out by injury. Crdit Agricole's Jaan Kirsipuu suffered a heel injury when he crashed at Tirreno. "He will be able to walk on his foot again in about a week," said CA directeur sportif Serge Beucherie. The injury is likely to prevent the Estonian from starting any of the spring Classics.

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