Norwegian sprinter Thor Hushovd will skip this year's Giro d'Italia to concentrate fully on his bid for stage wins and possibly other successes at the Tour de France in July.
Hushovd, a former Tour de France stage winner and winner of the race's green jersey for the points competition, had a solid spring classics season with two third places at Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix and a victory in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
He was initially scheduled to race the three-week Giro, held from May 9-31, but will now train and compete in smaller stage races instead in a bid to hone his form and work on his partnership with sprint lead-out man Brett Lancaster of Australia.
"I had a hard classic season and need a good break," Hushovd said in a statement by his Cervelo Test team. "After that, I will start building up my shape slowly for my next big goal, the Tour de France. For the Giro, I would have had to be ready right from the beginning of the race, but I haven't had enough time to prepare.
"With the Tour ahead, we decided that it was in the teams' and my best interests to adjust our plans. Instead, I'll do Tour of Catalunya and the Tour of Switzerland with my main lead-out man, Brett Lancaster.
"This way we can train and work together on our lead-out."
Cervelo's pre-selection squad for Giro d'Italia:
Philip Deignan (Irl), Simon Gerrans (Aus), Volodymir Gustov (Ukr), Jeremy Hunt (GBr), Ted King (USA), Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu), Daniel Lloyd (GBr), Joaquin Novoa (Spa), Serge Pauwels (Bel), Hayden Roulston (NZl), Carlos Sastre (Spa)
© AFP 2009...