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Contador and his Spanish lieutenants
Rogers, Kreuziger and Spanish climbers line up with former champion
Alberto Contador will have the picks of the Team Saxo-Tinkoff litter at his disposal in his quest to add another Tour de France title to his palmares when the 100th edition starts in Corisca on June 29. The Spaniard will have strong support from Michael Rogers, who helped usher Bradley Wiggins to the overall title in 2012, Roman Kreuziger, who recently finished third in the Tour de Suisse, and Nicolas Roche in addition to his two Spanish climbing lieutenants Benjamin Noval and Jesus Hernandez. Italians Matteo Tosatto and Daniele Bennati, and Portuguese rider Sergio Paulinho round out the team.
"We enter this year's Tour de France with the objective to win the race with Alberto. So obviously we've tried to pick the riders that fits the best to our overall goal, and we've tried to identify and bring together the competencies needed in the team to give Alberto the best possible support and protection over the three weeks on both flat roads and hectic finals, the hilly terrain, the mountains and the team time trial," directeur sportif Philippe Mauduit said.
"We believe, we have come up with a really strong lineup, a great all round team with a lot of valuable Grand Tour experience. So we feel certain Team Saxo-Tinkoff will make a significant impact on the race, and we look very much forward to three exiting weeks in France," Mauduit continues.
It will be the first time the Danish team hasn't included a rider from its home country since the 2007 Tour de France, and the team's owner Bjarne Riis struggled with the selections. "On a personal level it has been a tough decision for me to not have a Danish rider in the line-up. But we have committed ourselves to go with the group we believe has the best composition to achieve our overall goal," Riis said.
"This year, the race to be part of our Tour de France lineup has been tougher than in many years with more than the nine riders selected deserving a spot, and in our reserves group consisting of Nicki Sørensen, Chris Anker Sørensen and Michael Mørkøv, we have three highly competent and strong riders ready to step up if needed. Recently Matti Breschel has also shown great form," he said.
"I think we have found a great mix of in-form riders. We have a group of strong climbers in the team, we have riders designated to take care of Alberto on the flat roads and in the wind, and I'm sure we will perform well in the TTT as well. At the same time, this team will allow us to ride aggressively or take a more controlling approach in all terrains depending on our needs. At the end of the day this versatility will be a key component in trying to win the race."
Saxo-Tinkoff for the 100th Tour de France: Saxo-Tinkoff: Alberto Contador (Spa), Michael Rogers (Aus), Roman Kreuziger (Cze), Nicolas Roche (Irl), Matteo Tosatto (Ita), Daniele Bennati (Ita), Sergio Paulinho (Por), Jesus Hernandez (Spa), Benjamin Noval (Spa).