Columbia-HTC sports director Rolf Aldag was happy to see "a slightly different" Tour de France route for next year at the route presentation yesterday in Paris. The squad will be aiming at more stage victories with Mark Cavendish - as well as a possible green jersey victory - and a good overall placing for overall hopeful Tony Martin.
"Our goal is to be competitive for the green jersey next July," said Aldag after viewing the course details. "It's the next logical step after Mark [Cavendish] won six stages this year and finished in Paris. Even more logical if you think about how he won that last stage on the Champs-Elysées."
Speaking of the 2010 route, Aldag added, "It's true there are fewer flat stages, so when it comes to the green jersey, the question will be which sprinters can get over the climbs at the end of the hillier stages. Mark managed to win his fifth stage in the Tour this year after a really tough final climb."
Aldag said Columbia-HTC's other big objective will be to see what German Tony Martin is capable of achieving in the overall classification, "but without putting him under any pressure. This year he did really well considering it was his first Tour de France. Next July our target is that if he manages to avoid the two bad days he had, we'll be able to see where that gets him. If he finishes somewhere between eighth and twelfth in Paris, we'd be absolutely delighted."
The German sports director thought that the first week of racing added further spice to a race that will be dominated by the mountains. "Those cobbled sections in one early stage and the Ardennes climbs in another will make it special," said Aldag. "If it wasn't for those two stages, I'd say the overall contenders should maybe try to ride themselves into top shape for the Pyrenees, where the race will be decided. But with such a tough first week, anything could happen. It'll be an exciting Tour."
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