The nine British riders taking part in this year’s Giro d’Italia were in St Mark?s Square for the official team presentation on Thursday.

Mark Cavendish (Columbia), Bradley Wiggins and David Millar (Garmin), Jeremy Hunt and Dan Lloyd (Cervelo), Charly Wegelius (Silence), Chris Froome (Barloworld), Ian Stannard (ISD) and Ben Swift (Katusha) all posed for photographs in the sun and had a brief look at Venice. It was a long afternoon for all the riders but officially marked the start of the centenary Giro d?Italia.

American Lance Armstrong (Astana) was the star of the show, but Mark Cavendish was the only one to get more space in Thursday?s edition of Italian paper Gazzetta dello Sport. The Texan?s woes with Astana’s wages and his hopes to take over the team got half a page, Cavendish was filled a page with an interview done at his Italian base in Quarrata a few days before the race.

Cavendish and his team will hold his own press conference on Friday morning as Team Columbia?s bike sponsor Scott present their new time trial bike.

After his victory at Milan-San Remo, Cavendish is a huge star in Italy. He seems to enjoy the attention and is quietly confident for Saturday?s team time trial and the sprint stages in the first half of the race.

?I didn?t really go too deep in the Tour de Romandie because I knew my preparation for the Giro was more important,? he told Cycling Weekly in St Mark?s Square.

?I feel pretty fresh. Last year I made a mistake of doing too much and so came into the Giro tired. I didn?t want to make that mistake this year.?

David Millar loved being in Venice for the presentation. His broken collarbone is mending well and he will use the Giro to get his form back on track

?My shoulder is good. I can?t scratch my left shoulder blade but that?s about it. I can hold my time trial position. The operation was a big success. My form?s not bad. I?m not super fit but I?m not bad. I?m fresh and hopefully I can ride into form. I?d love to win a stage?

Bradley Wiggins was confident his Garmin team can beat Columbia in the opening team time trial and revealed to Cycling Weekly that he has the best form he has ever had before a major stage race.

?As long as we beat Columbia we?ll be alright,? he said happy to try and provoke Mark Cavendish yet again.

?I think we can win it? as long as we?re fast enough.?

More from the British riders at the Giro d?Italia on Friday.

Giro d’Italia 2009 links

Armstrong overshadows overall favourites at Giro presentation
Armstrong confident of finding new sponsor for Astana
Armstrong working to save Astana team
Wiggins in top form for Giro
Garmin Slipstream kitted out for Giro opener
Dan Lloyd gets late Giro call-up
Armstrong’s special Giro bikes unveiled
Daniel Lloyd overlooked for Giro ride
Cummings and Thomas not selected for Giro d’Italia
Cavendish tests Giro form at Tour of Romandie
David Millar confirms he’s riding in 2009 Giro
Bennati to take on Cavendish in Giro 2009 sprints
2009 Giro d’Italia to start in Venice
Evans and Silence-Lotto disagree on Giro 2009 ride
Armstrong to ride 2009 Giro
Tuttosport reveals 2009 Giro d’Italia route
Dolce & Gabbana design new Giro jersey

Giro d’Italia 2009: The Big Preview
Brits in the Giro 2009
Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish
CW Classic: the 1987 Giro d’Italia

2008 Giro d’Italia archive
Giro d’Italia 2008 coverage index – race reports, photos, results
From rule Britannia to cruel Britannia
Giro 2008: The final word on this year’s race
Brits at the 2008 Giro: photo special
Five days to go, what’s in store?
Giro d’Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 27)
Giro d’Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 19)
Giro d’Italia 2008 preview

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