Backing Rodriguez, Katusha says it has the ‘best and strongest roster’ to support him
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Friday, June 21, 2013

Backing Rodriguez, Katusha says it has the ‘best and strongest roster’ to support him

by VeloNation Press at 12:23 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Russian team targeting Tour de France success

Joaquim RodriguezPreviously second overall in the Giro d’Italia and twice third in the Vuelta a España, Joaquim Rodriguez will aim for his first three week victory as leader of the Katusha team in next week’s Tour de France.

The Catalan rider has been confirmed as the number one for the team, and will head to France with his confidence boosted by the fact that there is more climbing and less time trial kilometres than last year.

Rodriguez will have several opportunities to use his explosive power and his climbing ability, and will hope to gain sufficient time over the likes of Chris Froome (Sky) and Alberto Contador (Team Saxo Tinkoff) there to be able to overcome what he loses in the solo races against the clock.

According to chief directeur sportif Valerio Piva, the team’s line-up is both fully committed and powerful.

“I think we will have the best and strongest roster we could choose,” he said. “We will have Joaquim Rodriguez as a leader, and our main goal is to fight for general classification with him.”

“For this aim, we have strong climbers such as Losada, Trofimov and, of course, Moreno, that will be our second in command. Moreover, we have also riders for protecting our leader in the first part of the competition, like Brutt, Smukulis, Kuchynski and Vorganov: I expect their work to be crucial, especially in the team time trial and in the breakaways.”

In addition to the overall classification, the team will also chase big results on the flatter stages. Piva said that the squad will bank on Alexandre Kristoff for the sprinters’ stages, even though the lineup isn’t the most ideal to help him in those particular legs.

“He's in a great shape, so I think he can do a good jobs and also support the team in some stages,” he said. “In general, we have to be focused from the very beginning: the three stage in Corsica will be tough, especially the third, that's why we will be there a little earlier than expected in order to check it.

“Obviously, the third week will be crucial and the most demanding one: but it's a three-week long competition, so we have to pay attention every day.”

He added that the team has done reconnaissance of the time trial and the Pyrenean and Alpine stages, thus enabling it to be fully prepared for the route.

Katusha team for Tour de France:

Pavel Brutt, Alexander Kristoff, Aliaksandr Kuchynski, Alberto Losada, Daniel Moreno, Joaquim Rodriguez, Gatis Smukulis, Yuriy Trofimov and Eduard Vorganov.

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