A host of accomplished riders highlight Saxo-Tinkoff Vuelta a España squad
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Thursday, August 15, 2013

A host of accomplished riders highlight Saxo-Tinkoff Vuelta a España squad

by Kyle Moore at 1:31 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
 
Kreuziger leads with support from Majka, Sørensen, Roche, and Zaugg

Roman KreuzigerAfter winning the team classification in the Tour de France, Saxo-Tinkoff released a nine-man roster for the Vuelta a España that could well repeat, as best squad of the Spanish grand tour.

Roman Kreuziger is set to lead the team, his first stint as leader of Saxo-Tinkoff, after finishing fifth at the Tour de France. The Czech rider will look to perform well and build for a world championships appearance toward the end of a career season, during which he has stood on the podium in Amstel Gold Race (as the winner), the Tour de Suisse, the Tour de France, and Clasica San Sebastian.

But providing support for Kreuziger, or leadership should he falter, will be a long list of accomplished riders.

Polish rider Rafal Majka is back for his second grand tour of the season, after taking seventh in the Giro d’Italia. Majka has had a positive buildup to the Vuelta, by taking fourth overall and the points jersey in the Tour of Poland.

Along with Majka, Saxo-Tinkoff sends the ever-reliable Nicolas Roche, a former top ten finisher in the Vuelta.

“We are entering this year’s Vuelta a España with a very strong and versatile team, which will give us quite some cards to play throughout the three weeks of racing,” commented team director Tristan Hoffman. “Therefore we are also focusing on finishing the race with one of our riders well inside the top ten, and if things play into our hands, maybe even having two of our riders up there. With this group of riders, I definitely believe it is possible, even though we know the competition will be fierce.”

The notable absentee is Alberto Contador, but with the mix of new signees Kreuziger and Roche, as well as the talent grown within the team, Saxo-Tinkoff is likely to plan another attack on the team classification even without last year’s Vuelta champion.

Chris Anker Sørensen and Il Lombardia champion Oliver Zaugg round out the roster’s climbers.

“In Roman, Nicolas, Rafal, and Chris, we have four potential GC riders, with three of them having top ten finishes in grand tours before and Chris finishing just outside a couple of times,” Hoffman added, not mentioning Zaugg’s 11th place Vuelta finish in 2008. “They all feel strong before the race, and this naturally gives us some great possibilities in hand.”

The rest of the team shepherds have been more than reliable in the past, and will have a big task in looking after Saxo-Tinkoff’s GC men. Nicki Sørensen, Matteo Tosatto, Michael Mørkøv, and Evgeny Petrov will have work to do to keep an eye on their team leaders.

“Going into the Vuelta, I see Roman as the natural leader of the team,” Hoffman explained. “He has had a fantastic season so far and still feels motivated and ready. But Rafal, Nicolas, and Chris will also have the support of the team, and then we will see how the race develops and adjust accordingly.

“I expect a great race and I’m sure we will make a significant impact on the Vuelta.”

Saxo-Tinkoff for the Vuelta a España:
Roman Kreuziger, Chris Anker Sørensen, Nicki Sørensen, Michael Mørkøv, Nicolas Roche, Matteo Tosatto, Rafal Majka, Evgeny Petrov, Oliver Zaugg

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