Barloworld will stop sponsoring the team after the Tour de France, due to the Dueñas doping scandal in the team. But the team will continue to exist at least until 2009. The remaining riders Gianpaolo Cheula, Robert Hunter, John-Lee Augustyn and Chris Froome are determined to try for a stage win in the remainder of the race.
Cheula, Hunter, Augustyn and Froome enjoyed a quiet rest day before they start the demanding final stages in the Alps and ride towards Paris. The reassurances that the team will continue, although not under the Barloworld name, for the rest of the season and in 2009 has boosted team morale despite a difficult second week for the team. Everyone is now focused on the final stages and determined to obtain some important results.
South African sprinter Robert Hunter is especially motivated and chasing a result in the final sprint stages. Britain's Mark Cavendish's departure from the Tour on Sunday after winning four stages, has blown the sprints wide open. Hunter is an experienced sprinter who has the endurance and strength to do well in the final week of the Tour de France. He is determined to end the race on a high.
The four Team Barloworld riders went training for two hours late on Monday morning to help their legs recover after their efforts on the stage to Prato Nevoso. In the afternoon they all enjoyed a long massage of almost an hour each, before relaxing for the rest of the day.
The team mechanics also enjoyed a quiet day and the chance to prepare for the days ahead. "On the rest day we wash all the bikes, check the wheels and prepare the time trial bikes. We also do everything that is impossible during the daily race routine," Team Barloworld mechanic Tiziano Risi said.
The Tour de France returns to France today, with another mountain stage in the Alps from Cuneo to Jausiers over a distance of 157km. The stage includes the Hors catégory Col de la Lombarde and the Col de la Bonette. Team Barloworld team manager Claudio Corti hopes young rider Chris Froome and John-Lee Augustyn can show their talent.