New Zealand's Julian Dean is hoping to claim Garmin Chipotle - H30's first Tour de France stage victory this month, and believes the squad has an advantage over its rivals. Dean, the only Kiwi in this year's event, believes his squad won't draw the attention of rival outfits at its Tour debut as it doesn't have a true general classification contender.
"We don't have a serious contender for general classification in our team," admitted Dean. "Our aim is to gain a stage win either through myself on one of the sprint stages or with one of our riders in a breakaway. Without a general classification contender, we won't be targeted by the major teams.
"It means we can just go out there and give it everything," he added. "It's important that we are seen to be active and aggressive throughout, but we don't have the same constraints [as other riders]."
While the American Professional Continental squad has general classification hopes with Christian Vande Velde and Trent Lowe, however it will struggle in its Tour debut to match the likes of Silence-Lotto and Caisse d'Epargne.
This year's event will be Dean's fourth Tour and he will again wear the New Zealand colours as national champion. Dean, who has recovered from a crash at May's Giro d'Italia, and his wife recently had a second boy.
"I've definitely had my ups and downs in the build-up for the Tour," he said. "The crash in the Giro was quite serious but that tour was a key part of my prep for the Tour so I just had to knuckle down and keep riding sore. It was difficult, but that's professional cycling."
Having previously ridden as a helper at Crédit Agricole, this year Dean will be the main man. His move to the Jonathan Vaughters' Garmin Chipotle - H30 squad means Dean will be given the chance to claim the sprint stage victories.
"The heat will go on from the first day because there will be jerseys at stake so it will be quite different," said Dean. "There's not the usual early flat stage for sprinters and the first time trial is on day five."
Dean may have to wait for day three to get a reasonably flat stage for the sprinters to stretch their legs. "The second day is an opportunity also but day three definitely although both are a bit lumpy," he said.