Team Katusha hope their 24-year-old sprinter Denis Galimzyanov can put in a strong performance on Monday’s third stage between Olonne-sur-Mer and Redon. "He's obviously very dedicated and we are happy to promote him," Andrei Tchmil, the President of the team, told Cyclingnews. "I think Galimzyanov can be in the elite sprinters even if he's a rookie in the Tour de France. He can reach the top 3 in some stages."
This year the Russian wunderkind won a stage in the Tour of Luxembourg and the Three Days of De Panne. He came second in Belgian semi-Classic Sheldeprijs and in two stages of Paris-Nice.
"Gali" had a first grand tour experience last year with the Vuelta which he left after two weeks. He finished five times in sprints' top 9 and reached a promising fourth place in Lleida, behind Cavendish, Farrar and Goss, but before Hushovd and Freire.
Tchmil notes than Galimzyanov is the first rider having followed every stages of the Russian cycling project, as he turned pro with Continental team Premier in 2006 before joining Tinkoff, the former name of the Katusha structure.
At the Tour de France Galimzyanov will be supported by all his teammates, notably his lead out man Vladimir Isaichev, an ex-European Champion in junior team pursuit.
"It's a pity that Alexander Porsev crashed in Belgium late June [in Halle Ingooigem, Ed] because he was a key man of our lead out," Tchmil says.
Team Katusha trained for sprints with their special adviser Mario Cipollini near St-Moritz, Switzerland.
Very motivated for bunch sprints, Katusha will target "a good team ranking" according to Tchmil, as well as a good performance for Vladimir Karpets, "the wild card". Best young rider in the 2004 Tour de France, Karpets finished 12th two years ago and made it into the top 15 in the Giro and Vuelta in 2010.