Hesjedal confirmed as leading Garmin-Barracuda in Tour, team lineup announced
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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hesjedal confirmed as leading Garmin-Barracuda in Tour, team lineup announced

by Shane Stokes at 10:47 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Team aiming for Giro-Tour double, Dan Martin to make his debut

Ryder HesjedalHeading back to the race where it shone last year with four stage victories plus a win in the team classification, the Garmin-Barracuda team has announced the line-up for this year’s Tour de France. The American team will be led by Giro d’Italia victor Ryder Hesjedal, who will attempt to pull off a Giro-Tour double last achieved by Marco Pantani in 1998.

Also in with a chance of riding for GC are Christian Vande Velde and Tom Danielson, who will step forward if Hesjedal proves not to be at the same strength as he was in Italy.

Irish climber Dan Martin has been confirmed as making his debut in the race, gaining his place after winning a stage and finishing thirteenth overall in last year’s Vuelta a España. Team manager Jonathan Vaughters believes that the amount of time trialing in this year’s Tour suggests that Martin’s ambitions could be for a mountain stage win and possibly the King of the Mountains jersey rather than the general classification.

The team sprinter will once again by Tyler Farrar, with Robbie Hunter filling the leadout role where necessary. The lineup is completed by the strong time trialists Dave Zabriskie and David Millar, who will both have three chances to chase success in the individual time trials, plus last year’s Paris-Roubaix winner Johan Vansummeren.

The latter riders will also provide general support to the GC riders when necessary.

“As in past Tours, we have a pretty diverse set of goals,” Vaughters told VeloNation today. “I think we have a couple of riders who can contend for the general classification.

“Ryder will start out as the leader of the team. Okay, we haven’t had someone [in recent years] who has won the Giro and then been able to be on the podium in the Tour de France; Contador was fourth or fifth last year, although he was then disqualified. The year before that Basso was seventh, I think, if I am not mistaken.

“So while in recent times there hasn’t been a rider who has been able to recover from winning the Giro to come and get the podium in the Tour de France, I think Ryder is unique in that he is very robust, physically. He’s also hasn’t taken a lot of the promotional opportunities, dinner with the prime minister of Canada and so on and so forth. He has actually just gone back and trained very hard for the month of June and recovered.

“From that respect, he has kept a very low profile and he has focussed on the Tour de France. And at the very end of the Giro, he was riding better than at the beginning. So I have no reason to believe that he can’t be a contender at the Tour de France.”

Hesjedal was previously sixth in the 2010 race. Both Vande Velde and Danielson have also finished in the top ten, with the former placing fourth in 2008 and eighth in 2009, and Danielson placing eighth in his debut last year.

In recent years, Farrar has chased sprint victories; he’ll continue to do so, but in a different manner. “Tyler is in a role where he can be the joker in the field sprints; I don't see us pulling the bunch along for 120 kilometres, like we did in the past, as we are going to focus a little bit more on the general classification race this year. So we probably won’t be doing that.”

Vaughters said that he is excited to see how Dan Martin does in his first Tour. “Dan is an interesting wild card for mountain stages. I don’t know that he is quite ready to ride for the overall just yet, but if he loses some time in the time trials and flat stages, it puts him into a good position to get into some breakaways and ride aggressively in the mountains,” he said. “Certainly my hope would be that he can sneak in a stage win in one of the mountain stages.”
 


Garmin Barracuda for the Tour de France:

Riders:
Tom Danielson
Tyler Farrar
Ryder Hesjedal
Robbie Hunter
Dan Martin
David Millar
Christian Vande Velde
Johan Vansummeren
David Zabriskie

Directors:

Bingen Fernandez
Allan Peiper
Jonathan Vaughters

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