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Mark Cavendish and his HTC-Columbia teammates roll to the start
Aldag confident Tour form will come
HTC-Columbia will head into this week's Tour de Suisse with no ambitions for the overall classification, instead they will look to hone the team into the same stage-winning machine which claimed six stages of last year's Tour de France.
The Tour de Suisse starts Saturday in Lugano, where Cavendish will have his regular lead-out men Bernhard Eisel and Mark Renshaw at his disposal. Despite a slower build-up to this season, HTC-Columbia director Rolf Aldag is confident Cavendish will regain the form which saw him net those six Tour stages.
"Mark is getting better and better, and I saw that for myself when I went training with him and the rest of the team in the Alps recently. I'm confident he'll do well in Suisse, and I'm confident he'll do well in the Tour," said Aldag.
Last year the squad won an improbable six stages in Switzerland with six different riders. While Aldag doesn't expect a repeat of that result, he said if they can get into the GC lead through strong riding, they'd go with that. "We'll also use Tour de Suisse also to concentrate on perfecting our teamwork. All of the guys in the race are on our long list for the Tour de France so it's a good opportunity to practice how they operate as a squad."
Tour of California winner Michael Rogers will also be on the line, but without aspirations for the overall in the nine-day race.
"We've taken a different approach with some of our key guys, like Mick Rogers, who was initially targeting the Tour of California, and he took a great win there. Now it's more important he gets his form together for the Tour de France. Similarly, Tony [Martin] went full gas last year in Suisse and took second overall and a stage. This time round we'd probably just focus with him on one or two stages of Suisse. But if he stays with the best of them, we can live with that, too."
HTC-Columbia for Tour de Suisse: Michael Albasini, Mark Cavendish, Bernhard Eisel, Tony Martin, Maxime Monfort, Mark Renshaw, Michael Rogers, Hayden Roulston.