Tour de France: Movistar line-up announced, stage wins are target
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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tour de France: Movistar line-up announced, stage wins are target

by Shane Stokes at 8:38 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Led by Spanish champion Rojas, Spanish team vows aggressive approach

Jose Joaquin RojasBoosted by José Joaquín Rojas’ win ahead of Alberto Contador in last weekend's Spanish national championships, the Movistar team has confirmed its lineup for the 2011 Tour de France. It will primarily chase stage wins, saying that the mix of riders should enable it to be competitive on all sorts of terrain.

“We're coming here with a squad that aspires to win in all terrains, coming with the same goal every squad has: taking a stage victory,” said general manager Eusebio Unzué.

The team was launched at chief sponsor Telefónica’s store in Madrid's Gran Vía. Unsurprisingly, Spanish riders form the bulk of the squad, with Rojas, David Arroyo, Imanol Erviti, Iván Gutiérrez, Beñat Intxausti and Giro stage winner Fran Ventoso all selected. Portuguese rider Rui Costa will return to the Tour once again, while the team is completed by Andrey Amador (Costa Rica) and the Belarusian Vasil Kiryienka.

The inclusion of the latter two is particularly interesting. Amador has had a tough past six months, starting in December when he was attacked by thieves out training and beaten unconscious. He was out cold for six hours, had pulmonary bruising and one of his kidneys temporarily shut down. Then in late April he crashed in the Vuelta a Asturias. He broke his collarbone and had to miss the Giro d’Italia as a result.

Kiryienka’s participation is interesting for other reasons. He rode the Giro d’Italia, winning stage 20 and taking 25th overall, and then earlier this month won the Route du Sud. Few riders do both Grand Tours and those that do tend to rest up after the Giro; Alberto Contador, for example, has only done the Spanish championship road race and time trial since ending the Italian Grand tour. Kiryienka clearly feels that he has more to give before taking a break.

“Unzué assessed the chances of the various riders. “Ventoso has already shown he might do well within the top sprinters, contesting victories in big races; besides, Rojas is also a really fast man, and showed in the Spanish championships on Sunday what his fitness level is.

“On the other hand, we have all rounders like Amador, Erviti, Iván or Rui Costa, who are capable giving us some success in any kind of stage. For the mountains, Intxausti, Arroyo or Kiryienka have the quality needed to ride on front. It will be up to the race itself to see if we can make it to the wins we're looking for.”

The team will miss the presence of Xavier Tondo, who most likely would have been its GC leader. He was tragically killed in May as the result of an accident.

He will be on the minds of the team, which has also been shaken by the bad crash of Mauricio Soler, and will give them additional motivation to shine.

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Team Movistar for Tour de France:

Andrey Amador (CRC), David Arroyo (ESP), Rui Costa (POR), Imanol Erviti (ESP), Iván Gutiérrez (ESP), Beñat Intxausti (ESP), Vasil Kiryienka (BLR), Fran Ventoso (ESP), José Joaquín Rojas (ESP)

 

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