The HTC-Highroad has announced its nine-rider team for the Tour de France that will target stage victories in the sprints with Mark Cavendish and Matt Goss and a top ten overall result with Tony Martin. The USA’s Tejay Van Garderen will make his Tour de France debut and hope for a good overall performance.
Completing the HTC-Highroad squad for the Tour de France are road captain Bernhard Eisel, lead-out man Mark Renshaw, and quality domestiques Peter Velits, Lars Bak and Danny Pate.
"As Cav says, for him it's about winning stages," says team manager Rolf Aldag in a statement from the team.
"He has won 15 Tour de France stages with us since 2008 and our goal is add to this impressive tally. We believe he is the fastest sprinter in the world and will get the support he's used to with Eisel and Renshaw. We continue a winning formula."
"Eisel is our most experienced guy and our road captain. He is essential to make crucial decisions in the race and to keep everyone relaxed and confident during the Tour with his leadership and spirit we have adapted our roster to the specific stages of the 2011 course, which include classic-like stages that may deeply challenge pure sprinters, but play to the strengths of Matt Goss. He has won eight races already this year including Milan-San Remo and has proven he can win on difficult finishes. He deserves his first start in the Tour de France and will get his chances. He may also be a strong contender for the Green Jersey as the race progresses.”
Martin, Velits and Van Garderen
Tony Martin is targeting a top ten result as he looks to move up from winning shorter stage races. He may suffer in the mountain but has the advantage of the final time trial stage around Grenoble.
Van Garderen is riding the Tour de France for the first time and will also target a good overall result as he continues his development as a stage race rider. Peter Velits could also do well overall after his third place in the 2010 Vuelta Espana.
"After winning Paris-Nice Tony Martin is ready to be our GC contender. He has realistic hopes of a top ten position in GC and he'll get the support from the team,” Aldag said.
“He already won on the time trial course in Grenoble this year. That will be a strong point for him and we will also rely on him to help power us in the pivotal team time trial on stage two.”
"Young Tejay Van Garderen will make his first Tour de France start and we're confident he's ready. Having survived the Vuelta last year in good form he has shown that he is capable of handing a three-week race. He's had an extraordinary season and will be asked to help in the Team Time Trial and to learn as much as he can. His future is in riding GC in grand tours so he'll try to soak up as much experience as he can.”
Aldag admitted it was difficult to chose the final nine riders, especially the key workers, who will ride to control the sprint stages, ride well in the team time trial and help in the mountains.
"It took us quite a while to come to our final decisions on the team. We have such a strong, balanced roster overall and it's hard to leave riders like Albasini, Martin Velits, Sivtsov, Rasmussen and Grabsch home," he said.
"Finally we have Lars Bak and Danny Pate. Both of these riders are remarkable on their own, but the success we hope to attain will no doubt come from the endless work that these guys will do during the race. They have proven they can ride on the front forever and do it with a smile on their face. They are a vital part of the team and we are proud to race with them in the Tour de France.”
The Tour de France starts on Saturday July 2 with a road race stage to Monte des Alouettes. The 23km team time trial around Les Essarts follows on the Sunday July 3.