Team Radioshack leaders named for Tour de France, five more riders to be decided
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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Team Radioshack leaders named for Tour de France, five more riders to be decided

by VeloNation Press at 6:07 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
No Tour for Hunter, Busche and Deignan

Levi LeipheimerTeam Radioshack general manager Johan Bruyneel has confirmed the names of four riders for the Tour de France, naming those who are expected to start the race as equal leaders. Tour de Suisse victor Levi Leipheimer will seek to improve upon the third place he achieved in 2007, and will be psyched follow his last-gasp win on Sunday ahead of Damiano Cunego.

Andreas Klöden has had a strong season thus far, winning the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and finishing as runner-up in Paris-Nice. He took stage wins in the latter event, as well as Critérium International and the Giro del Trentino.

The oldest rider on the team will be Chris Horner who, at 39 years of age, dominated the Tour of California. He won a stage there and was also second behind Klöden in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, as well as fourth in the Volta a Catalunya. Horner was tenth in last year’s Tour, being best placed of the RadioShack team in the race.

The quartet is completed by Janez Brajkovic, who is by far the youngest at 27 years of age. He beat Alberto Contador in last year’s Critérium du Dauphiné, but didn’t manage to keep the same form into the Tour.

This year, he has rejigged his racing programme and training in order to peak for cycling’s top event. Seventh in Paris-Nice and seventh in the Tour de Romandie are solid results, as is his ninth overall in the Critérium du Dauphiné. He’s now expecting to step things up in July.

In the majority of previous years Bruyneel’s teams have had either one or two clear leaders; Lance Armstrong was at the helm between 1999 and 2005, while Alberto Contador was the top rider in 2008. He shared the favourite status with Armstrong in 2009.

Officially there was more than one leader last year, but Armstrong was clearly the protected rider heading into the event. He was unable to contend for the yellow jersey, though, finishing 23rd, and Horner stepped forward as the best of the rest.

A total of ten riders have been listed by Bruyneel as being in the running for the final five places. Those in contention are Yaroslav Popovych, Haimar Zubeldia, Sergio Paulinho, Grégory Rast, Robbie McEwen, Jason MCartney, Dmitriy Muravyev, Sébastien Rosseler, Geoffroy Lequatre and Markel Irizar.

Sprinter Robbie Hunter, 2009 Vuelta a España stage winner Philip Deignan and US champion Matt Busche are amongst those who won’t be considered this year.

While Bruyneel will make the final decision, he has invited the opinions of fans in the meantime. They can give their thoughts on his Facebook page.

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