Alex Rasmussen hoping for Tour de France debut with HTC-Columbia

Team management encourages Dane to target spot on the Tour squad

Alex Rasmussen's move to HTC-Columbia could mean he rides the Tour de France for the first time in his career. Both team manager Rolf Aldag and sports director Brian Holm have encouraged the Dane to set the Tour as a goal in 2011.

"Rolf Aldag said that I must aim at the Tour de France and for the team time trial. The Tour de France has now become a new dream for me," Rasmussen told the Danish news agency Ritzau.

His chances look good, according to Holm, “but the big question is whether he can handle a three-week stage race. We will find out during the season. We must see if he is strong enough because we don't really know him yet.”

Rasmussen never really thought riding the Tour during his two years at Saxo Bank. “I had different priorities and they had so many climbers that I never even considered it,” he said.

Next month the Dane will be in the wind tunnel in Germany, testing new equipment and work on his time trial position with HTC.

The 26-year-old only turned pro in 2009. Most of his success has been on the track and he is the reigning world Scratch champion. He won four races on the road this year, taking two stages at the Four Days of Dunkirk and one at the Vuelta a Andalucia plus the GP Herning.

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