After disappointing Tour, Bruyneel says RadioShack aims to prove a point at Vuelta a España
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Thursday, August 18, 2011

After disappointing Tour, Bruyneel says RadioShack aims to prove a point at Vuelta a España

by VeloNation Press at 12:20 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
Leipheimer leads second team in USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado

Janez BrajkovicRadioShack general manager Johan Bruyneel has spoken of his frustration at the bad luck that affected his team at the Tour de France and said that two of the riders who were forced out of the July race will underline their worth at the Vuelta a España.

“During the Tour de France our fans all knew that crashes got the best of us,” he said, referring to the accidents which ended the general classification of Levi Leipheimer and which took Andreas Klöden, Janez Brajkovic and Chris Horner out of the race. “One month later only the names of the winners stay in their minds. But part three of the cycling season starts now and it’s time for us to show our real value again and to show the Team RadioShack jerseys on the podiums.”

Of those four riders, two are competing in the Vuelta and will aim big. Bruyneel said that he is confident that they will leave their mark on the race. “Levi, Andreas and Jani have recovered from their injuries,” he said. “They are ready to show how they could have performed in July. Cycling is not an exact science. Being in the condition of your life in July doesn’t mean you will have the same form one month later. The courses are different and the other riders are different. However I am confident we can surprise again. The results of the last few weeks in Wallonie, Eneco Tour and Utah make me optimistic.”

Leipheimer will race in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado and, having shown his form when he won the recent Tour of Utah, Bruyneel believes he will fight for the title there. But in relation to the Vuelta, it is Brajkovic and Klöden who will be the protected riders there.

Klöden sought to downplan his chances on Twitter, saying in recent days that he considered the after-effects of his injury in the Tour would count against him in Spain. Bruyneel appears to suggest that he could be a bigger factor than he himself said.

“Andreas is one of the most professional riders I have ever worked with,” he said. “In 2011 he was never sick and he was really ready for maybe his best Tour de France ever. If his back injury doesn’t flare up again, he should be able to place very high in Madrid.

“Together with Jani, who showed good form last week in the Tour of Utah, he can be part of a dangerous duo. And don’t forget Tiago Machado. Tiago learned a lot in the Tour of Italy this year. It was a very hard Giro. Maybe a bit too hard for being his first Grand Tour, but he recovered well. Now he has no pressure on his shoulders. On the contrary, he can be the perfect team player and look for some opportunities in the mountains.”

The team will also include six other riders. US national champion Matthew Busche makes his Grand Tour debut and will show off the special jersey there. Also lining out will be Markel Irizar, Geoffroy Lequatre, Nelson Oliveira, Sérgio Paulinho and Haimar Zubeldia.

The nine will immediately have a chance to show their form and commitment, with a team time trial getting things underway in Benidorm on Saturday. After that, the first big mountain stage lies in wait next Tuesday, and will show if Brajkovic and Klöden are in the shape to fight for the final honours.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, Leipheimer will spearhead the squad for the Colorado event. He has set the race as his big goal for the second half of the season. Having won in Utah and previously taken three editions of the Tour of California, he’s got a history of riding strongly on home soil. However Bruyneel doesn’t want too much pressure on his shoulders.

“The characteristics of the race suit Levi well, but the competition will be very hard in this new Tour of Colorado,” he said. “Cadel Evans, Frank and Andy Schleck, Robert Gesink and Tom Danielson will all be motivated too.”

Leipheimer will be supported by George Bennett, Philip Deignan, Ben Hermans, Ben King, Jason McCartney, Dmitriy Muravyev and Ivan Rovny, while a separate lineup of Fumiyuki Beppu, Sam Bewley, Manuel Cardoso, Robert Hunter, Michal Kwiatkowski, Robbie McEwen and Gregory Rast will contest the Vattenfall Cyclassics race in Hamburg this Sunday.

The hope is that a big result is awaiting the team in one of those three places. “It would be nice to offer RadioShack, Nissan, our other sponsors and all the fans an extra victory as a thank you for the trust they have had in us,” Bruyneel said.

Team Radioshack rosters:

Tour of Spain, 20/08-11/09/11

Riders; Jani Brajkovic, Matthew Busche, Markel Irizar, Andreas Klöden, Geoffroy Lequatre, Tiago Machado, Nelson Oliveira, Sérgio Paulinho & Haimar Zubeldia
Directors: Viatcheslav Ekimov & José Azevedo

Vattenfall Cyclassics / Hamburg (Germany), 21/08/11

Riders: Fumiyuki Beppu, Sam Bewley, Manuel Cardoso, Robert Hunter, Michal Kwiatkowski, Robbie McEwen & Gregory Rast
Director: Dirk Demol

USA Pro Cycling Challenge (Colorado, USA), 22-28/08/11

Riders: George Bennett, Philip Deignan, Ben Hermans, Ben King, Levi Leipheimer, Jason McCartney, Dmitriy Muravyev, Ivan Rovny
Directors: Alain Gallopin & Axel Merckx


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