Tour de Suisse: HTC-Columbia hunts for stages, Cavendish ready to roll
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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tour de Suisse: HTC-Columbia hunts for stages, Cavendish ready to roll

by VeloNation Press at 3:41 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de Suisse
Team confirms the Manx Missile is ready to fire

Mark CavendishHTC-Columbia is heading to the Tour de Suisse in Lugano, Switzerland this weekend hunting for stage wins in the nine-day race.  Last year the overall classification was won by Saxo Bank's Fabian Cancellara, but the American team managed to secure victory in an incredible six stages with five different riders.

The Swiss race will serve as the last chance for riders to earn a spot in the Tour de France next month, and will also be star sprinter Mark Cavendish's final big tune up before entering the green jersey battle.

"We won't be starting Suisse with any GC ambitions," explained HTC-Columbia's team manager Rolf Aldag.  "But if we get in a situation where a spell in the lead comes just because of good riding, we'll go with that.  The Dauphine and Tour de Suisse are also both chances where riders can prove that they have the form for the Tour de France ahead of our final team selection.  We've got so many guys in our team who would be good at the Tour so we're giving them every chance to show their form."

Cavendish is behind on his win tally this year due to medical problems that forced him to miss the beginning of the season.  HTC-Columbia will be focused on ironing out their leadout train for the Manxman.

"We'll also use Tour de Suisse also to concentrate on perfecting our teamwork. All of the guys in the race are on our long list for the Tour de France so it's a good opportunity to practice how they operate as a squad."

Aldag said he doesn't expect to have the same sort of success the team did last year.  Two of their general classification riders are already riding well, but they will likely be holding back for their appointment in July.  "We've taken a different approach with some of our key guys, like Mick Rogers, who was initially targeting the Tour of California, and he took a great win there. Now it's more important he gets his form together for the Tour de France. Similarly, Tony [Martin] went full gas last year in Suisse and took second overall and a stage.  This time round we'd probably just focus with him on one or two stages of Suisse. But if he stays with the best of them, we can live with that, too."

The team continues to stand by last year's top sprinter Cavendish despite only going 1 for 2 in the recent Tour of California, and warns that he's on track for some big results.  "Mark is getting better and better, and I saw that for myself when I went training with him and the rest of the team in the Alps recently," Aldag said.  "I'm confident he'll do well in Suisse, and I'm confident he'll do well in the Tour."

HTC-Columbia for Tour de Suisse:

Michael Albasini (Swi); Mark Cavendish (GB); Bernhard Eisel (Aut); Tony Martin (Ger); Maxime Monfort (Bel); Mark Renshaw (Aus);  Michael Rogers (Aus); Hayden Roulston (NZ)


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