Three-pronged GC attack for RadioShack Nissan in Vuelta a España
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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Three-pronged GC attack for RadioShack Nissan in Vuelta a España

by Shane Stokes at 7:05 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
 
Monfort wants to build on sixth place of 2011

Maxime MonfortWith Andy Schleck still trying to get back to speed after a pelvic fracture and his brother Frank sidelined due to a positive test for a diuretic, the RadioShack Nissan team has opted for a broader approach for the Vuelta a España.

Rather than putting full backing behind one leaders, the team has designated three protected riders for the upcoming GrandTour. Maxime Monfort, Linus Gedemann and Tiago Machado are the designated GC riders.

Of those, 29 year old Monfort has the best history in Grand Tours; he was sixth overall last year and won a stage, then was sixteenth in this year’s Tour de France.

Gerdemann won a stage in the 2007 Tour and led the race for a day, but hasn’t progressed as expected. His best three-week result is sixteenth in the 2010 Giro. Machado was nineteenth in the same race one year later.

They will line out alongside the sprinter Daniele Bennati, Jan Bakelants, Laurent Didier, Markel Irizar, Gregory Rast and Hayden Roulston.

José Azevedo will direct the team and despite the absence of the Schlecks and Fabian Cancellara, he anticipates good results.

“We bring a diverse team to the start. Monfort, Gerdemann and Machado are our three GC riders and we will try to bring them in the best possible position to defend their overall ambitions,” he explained. “Maxime is very motivated for the Vuelta and with his sixth place overall in 2011, he proved to be a strong Grand Tour racer. He took a large break after the Tour, in order to be fresh both physically and mentally.

“With eleven altitude finishes the route will suit Tiago Machado very well too. Tiago is ready for this race. The Vuelta has been his goal for the whole season and he is confident. The key stages for him - and for everyone else - will be the Asturian stages. Gerdemann, finally, came out of the Eneco Tour with very good feelings. He was at the front in every stage and that is always a good sign."

He said that Bakelants, Didier, Irizar, Rast and Roulston would be give free reign to chase their own results, with one in particular standing out for Azevedo,” he said.

However another rider could have an even better chance. “In theory six out of the 21 stages can conclude in a bunch sprint. Our Italian sprinter Daniele Bennati has already won five stages in the Tour of Spain in the past. We hope to see him knit on a sixth one somewhere between Pamplona and Madrid.”

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