Team Movistar holds off on final Tour de France selection
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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Team Movistar holds off on final Tour de France selection

by Shane Stokes at 7:21 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Narrows list of riders down to eleven, national championships will be decider

Team MovistarAlthough many of the teams starting the Tour de France on July 2nd have finalised their selections, or will do so in the next couple of days, the Spanish Movistar team has opted to prolong the process until after next weekend.

The ProTour squad has narrowed the pre-selection down to eleven riders, and will reduce this to the final nine on the basis of the results of the final pre-Tour contests.

“The Movistar Team lineup will get defined next week after the national road championships, the last competitions before the squad's participation in the Grande Boucle,” the team stated today.

The eleven riders in the running are Andrey Amador, David Arroyo, Rui Costa, Imanol Erviti, Iván Gutiérrez, Beñat Intxausti, Vasil Kiryienka, Ángel Madrazo, José Joaquín Rojas, Branislau Samoilau and Fran Ventoso.

Two of those will be left on the sidelines after the championships.

As pointed out by the experienced cycling commentator and writer Matt Rendell today, Kiryienka’s inclusion in the list is notable. He rode the entire Giro d’Italia, winning stage 20 and taking 25th overall, and then won the Route du Sud last weekend.

In an era when many riders avoid the Giro/Tour double, and those that do take it on rest hard in between, the Belarusian has continued racing strongly and is now considering riding the Tour de France.

Sadly, the team will miss two riders who would have fitted very well into a leadership role. The first, Xavier Tondo, was tragically killed in a domestic accident in May. He was having a very strong season and had hoped to ride well in the Tour.

The second is the Colombian Mauricio Soler, who won a stage in the 2007 race and also took the mountains classification. He won a stage in the recent Tour de Suisse and appeared back on track after several seasons plagued by injury, but then had a heavy fall in the Swiss race. He was airlifted to hospital with head injuries and placed in an artificial coma.

The team announced yesterday that he is showing welcome signs of improvement, but will unfortunately miss a race where he otherwise could have been a big factor.

Team Movistar will head to the Tour with a solid team, and is certain to ride aggressively in order to highlight a sponsor which came on board this year.


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