Il Grillo, a recent winner in Lugano, hopes to erase the memory of last year when respitory problems, cut short his ambitions.
With several hills and an uphill finish, the stage could suit the Olympic champion to a tee.
Also hoping to erase the memory of health problems is defending champion Oscar Freire, whose 2005 season was cut short by injuries.
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Another one in his way could be UCI Pro Tour winner Danilo Di Luca, who after his high altitude stage in Mexico insists that the leader for Liquigas on Tirreno will be Stefano Garzelli.
WAIT 'TILL FRIDAY
After Alessandro Petacchi's win in last Monday's Giro della Provincia di Lucca, the Milram sprinter and his new marquee lieutenant Erik Zabel are two of the star attractions of Tirreno, but a look at the map inclines one to think that the defending Milan-Sanremo champion won't really be front-and-center until Friday's flat 183km stage between Avezzano and Paglieta.
Leif Hoste and Stijn Devolder headline Discovery Channel's bid in a squad that also includes George Hincapie and last year's Giro winner Paolo Savoldelli.
Neither Savoldelli nor CSC's Ivan Basso are expected to fight for victory, saving their strength for the big battles that lie ahead.
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