Saxo-Tinkoff announces line up for Alberto Contador’s Tour de France campaign
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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Saxo-Tinkoff announces line up for Alberto Contador’s Tour de France campaign

by Ben Atkins at 9:10 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
No Danes in Danish team as Spanish leader looks to make up for effective three-year absence

alberto contadorTeam Saxo-Tinkoff has announced the nine-man line up that will start the Tour de France on June 29th, with the goal of taking a third victory for Alberto Contador. The 30-year-old Spanish rider won the 2007 and 2009 editions of the race, but was retrospectively disqualified from victory in the 2010 race after returning a positive test for Clenbuterol; the subsequent suspension also saw him lose his fifth place from 2011, then sit out the 2012 edition.

Having effectively missed three Tours de France, Contador now intends to return with another victory.

"We enter this year's Tour de France with the objective to win the race with Alberto,” said Saxo-Tinkoff directer sportif Philippe Mauduit. “So obviously we've tried to pick the riders that fit the best to our overall goal, and we've tried to identify and bring together the competencies needed in the team to give Alberto the best possible support and protection over the three weeks on both flat roads and hectic finals, the hilly terrain, the mountains and the TTT," he says.

"We believe, we have come up with a really strong lineup, a great all round team with a lot of valuable Grand Tour experience,” Mauduit added. “So we feel certain Team Saxo-Tinkoff will make a significant impact on the race, and we look very much forward to three exiting weeks in France.”

With his Grand Tour pedigree, which includes victory in last year’s Vuelta a España on his return from suspension, Contador will naturally be one of the hot favourites for the final Maillot Jaune. So far this season he has been a little less unbeatable than before, however, and has yet to take a victory since his stage win in the Tour de San Luis in January.

Notably, in three of the five stage races that he has ridden so far - the Tour of Oman, Tirreno-Adriatico and the Critérium du Dauphiné - Contador has finished behind Team Sky’s Chris Froome, who is expected to be his biggest rival in the upcoming Tour.

Nevertheless, Saxo-Tinkoff team owner Bjarne Riis feels that he has the right team to deliver Contador to victory, which includes Michael Rogers - who was road captain for Team Sky during Bradley Wiggins' 2012 victory - and Roman Kreuziger - who finished third in last week's Tour de Suisse.

"I think we have found a great mix of in form riders,” Riis said. “We have a group of strong climbers in the team, we have riders designated to take care of Alberto on the flat roads and in the wind, and I'm sure we will perform well in the TTT as well. At the same time this team will allow us to ride aggressively or take a more controlling approach in all terrains depending on our needs. At the end of the day this versatility will be a key components in trying to win the race," he says and points out that the competition to make the team has been fierce.”

2013 will be the first time in the history of Riis’ team that it will start with no Danish riders, and leaving out his three compatriots that rode last year was not an easy decision for the 1996 Tour winner.

"This year, the race to be part of our Tour de France lineup has been tougher than in many years with more than the nine riders selected deserving a spot, and in our reserves group consisting of Nicki Sørensen, Chris Anker Sørensen and Michael Mørkøv, we have three highly competent and strong riders ready to step up if needed,” Riis explained. “Recently Matti Breschel has also shown great form. On a personal level it has been a tough decision for me to not have a Danish rider in the lineup. But we have committed ourselves to go with the group, we believe has the best composition to achieve our overall goal.”

Team Saxo-Tinkoff for the Tour de France
Michael Rogers, Roman Kreuziger, Nicolas Roche, Matteo Tosatto, Daniele Bennati, Sergio Paulinho, Alberto Contador, Jesus Hernandez and Benjamin Noval

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