Footon-Servetto team includes eight first-timers in Tour de France squad
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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Footon-Servetto team includes eight first-timers in Tour de France squad

by Conal Andrews at 5:53 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Felline youngest rider in the Tour at 20 years of age

Footon-ServettoA staggering eight out of the nine riders in the Footon-Servetto team unveiled today will be making their debut in the Tour de France, with the average age of the team being just 25.5 years old.

The Spanish ProTour squad has decided to choose youth over experience, and just one rider – 31 year old Giampaolo Cheula - will have ridden the race before. The Italian was 85th in 2008 and 110th in 2007. This year he was third in the GP di Lugano and also took two top-five placings on stages of the Tour of Turkey.

He will help guide the other riders, who are the Spaniards Alberto Benítez, Arkaitz Durán, Iban Mayoz and Rafael Valls, his compatriot Eros Capecchi, the Portuguese rider Manuel Cardoso and Austrian Markus Eibegger. They will primarily target stage victories in the race.

Directeur Sportif Joxean Fernández Matxin accepted that the team composition is one which will require a lot of learning along the way, but he feels certain that they will make up for that with determination.

"It's true that we're bringing up to eight debutants to the Tour, but I think they'll be compensating the lack of experience with illusion to do a race that means a dream for most pro riders,” he said. “Looking at our roster depth, I think we're setting a quite balanced team, with riders able to stand big paces in the mountains, such as Capecchi, Durán, Eibegger or Valls; experienced riders for the breakaways like Mayoz, Benítez and Cheula, plus two fast men like Cardoso and Felline, who we hope to give us some headlines in the first week.”

Manuel CardosoCardoso highlighted his talent this year when he won stage three of the Santos Tour Down Under, beating world champion Cadel Evans and the hugely promising rider Peter Sagan (Liqugas) to the line.

Two other riders in the Tour squad have topped the podium this season. Rafael Valls won a stage of the Tour de San Luis, while 20 year old Fabio Felline has notched up three succeses: two stages in the Circuit de Lorraine plus the final overall classification.

Maxtin expects those and the other six to ride aggressively. “Obviously, the aim will be to fight for stage victories, and we must do it entering the breaks and being combative, just the line we kept for all the season,” he said. “The other option remains the mass sprints; despite not having a pure specialist, Cardoso has already shown he can be up-front in the bunch and Felline has big quality, even though we know he comes here with no pressure, and even not to finish the race.”

The team lineup contrasts with those of other squads such as Team RadioShack, which will have an average age of 32.5 years old, with four of its riders being between 38 and 35 years of age. The most junior rider on that team will be Janez Brajkovic, 26, compared to Felline’s 20 years. The latter will be the youngest rider in the race.


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