Rabobank's team manager Erik Breukink believes his rider Denis Menchov to be ready to aim for a top five placing at the upcoming Tour de France. Menchov had won the Best Young rider classification at the Tour in 2003, and has been designated the squad's leader for general classification this year. "I feel that with the qualities and maturity he has acquired, he now has reason to aim for a top five placing. That's how good he is," Breukink said. "While he may not have finished [the Tour] last year, that whole season was a bit of a non-starter for him," he added.
Because of the non-participation of Oscar Freire, who would have been a major player for sprint finishes in the first week, Breukink remodeled his strategies to aim for the hillier stages. "For the intermediate stages, where the breakaways can sometimes lead all the way to the finish, we have several possibilities with Erik Dekker and Karsten Kroon, for example, who are very experienced Tour riders. Another option, once we reach the mountains, will be to let Michael Rasmussen take his chances, as he is truly a good climber," he explained to letour.fr.
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