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John Gadret (AG2R) raises his arms in victory
Saxo Bank counts on Haedo brothers for sprint wins
John Gadret will lead AG2R in the Giro d'Italia, looking to repeat or improve on his top finish from last season. The Haedo brothers will take on the race for Team Saxo Bank. The Danish team will have more modest expectations this year, as last year's winner Alberto Contador is currently serving a doping suspension and has been stripped of the 2011 title.
Gadret won the eleventh stage of last year's race, winning the sprint of a group of favourites on a mountain top finish. He finished the race in fourth place overall, but moved up to third when Contador was disqualified.
He will be supported by Manuel Belletti, Julien Berard, Guillaume Bonnafond, Hubert Dupont, Ben Gastauer, Gregor Gazvoda, Matteo Montaguti and Matthieu Perget.
Sprinters Juan Jose Haedo and Lucas Sebastian Haedo will feature in the Saxo Bank team. Juan Jose recently won the Grand Prix Denain, for one of the team's rare victories this season. Luke Roberts, David Tanner, and Jonas Aean will help with the sprints, while Anders Lund and Manuele Boaro will look to be in break groups. Matteo Tosatto will be road captain.
"Without a pre race favorite or a GC contender in our line-up we will have an opportunistic approach to this year's first Grand Tour. We have tried to put together a group of riders, who can help and support Juan Jose Haedo in the sprints, but also ride aggressively on their own on intermediate stages. Our goal will be to win a stage, and I have no doubts that these guys will make an impact on the race already on the very first stages in Denmark," team owner Bjarne Riis said.
The team will have to do without Rafal Majka. The 22-year-old Pole was to have been the team's GC candidate, but is still recovering from a knee injury suffered in a crash at Tirreno-Adriatico.