Big names expected for Paris-Nice

There are some big guns lining up for this year’s Paris-Nice, set to be the first major stage-race dogfight of the season

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There are some big guns lining up for this year’s Paris-Nice, set to be the first major stage-race dogfight of the season.

Defending champion Tony Martin will be back for the “Race to the Sun,” set for March 4-11. Omega Pharma-QuickStep teammates Levi Leipheimer and Sylvain Chavanel are also penciled in to start.

Race officials reported Thursday that 10 of the top-15 from last year’s Tour de France will be lining up for the opening time trial between Dampierre-en-Yvelines and Saint-Rémy-Lès-Chevreuse.

Other top names include Tejay Van Garderen (BMC), who told that Paris-Nice is one of his major goals for the 2012 season.

The runner-up in 2011, Andreas Klöden, will be riding for the Radioshack-Nissan team with the Schleck brothers, who will be making their first appearance together this season

Others likely to start include Janez Brajkovic (Astana), Jean-Christophe Péraud (FDJ), Rein Taaramae (Cofidis), Simon Gerrans (GreenEdge), Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale), former winner Luis-Leon Sanchez (Rabobank), Christopher Froome (Team Sky), Pierre Rolland and Thomas Voeckler (both Europcar).

22 teams for Paris-Nice with leading riders

GreenEdge Cycling Team: Gerrans (Aus)

Lotto Belisol Team: Bak (Den), Henderson (NZ)
Omega Pharma-Quick Step: Boonen (Bel), Chavanel (Fra), Leipheimer (USA), Martin (Ger)

Team Saxo Bank: Kroon (Hol), Nuyens (Bel)

Euskaltel-Euskadi: Anton (Spa), Sicard (Fra)
Movistar Team: Arroyo, Rojas (Spa)

BMC Racing Team: Van Garderen, Phinney (USA), Hushovd (Nor)
Garmin-Barracuda: Millar (GB), Haussler (Aus) – Le Mevel (Fra)

AG2R La Mondiale: Péraud (Fra), Roche (Irl)
Cofidis, le Crédit en Ligne: Taaramae (Est), Di Grégorio (Fra), Moncoutié (Fra)
FDJ-BigMat: Fédrigo, Jeannesson (Fra)
Saur-Sojasun: Coppel, Hivert, B.Feillu (Fra)
Team Europcar: Rolland, Voeckler (Fra)

Great Britain
Sky Pro Cycling: Froome, Thomas (GB)

RadioShack-Nissan: A.Schleck, F.Schleck (Lux), Klöden (Ger)

Lampre – ISD: Bole (Slo), Cunego (Ita)
Liquigas-Cannondale: Basso (Ita), Szmyd (Pol)

Astana Pro Team: Brajkovic (Slo), Seeldrayers (Bel)

Rabobank Cycling Team: LL. Sanchez (Spa), Renshaw (Aus)
Project 1t4i: Degenkolb, Kittel (Ger)
Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team: De Gendt (Hol), R.Feillu (Fra)

Katusha Team: Galimzyanov, Menchov (Rus)

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