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Winner of the 2015 Tour Down Under
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Marc Madiot discusses FDJ's aims for the Tour de France
Press swarm Omega Pharma-Quickstep in Leeds
Pre-race team press conferences got under way two days ahead of the start of the 2014 Tour de France on Thursday. Teams like Trek Factory Racing, FDJ, BMC and Bretagne Schuller all presented their teams to the media.
The Tour will kick off on Saturday, July 5 with a road stage from Leeds to Harrogate. The race will stay in Great Britain for three days before heading to France.
At the Trek Factory Racing press conference, star rider Fabian Cancellara talked about the cobbled stage 5. "It's a special scenario when you have a cobbled stage in the Tour de France. It's good for me and I will, and we will, go for that," Cancellara said in his unique version of Swiss-English.
"When people ask if it's safe or not, I say that we're in the Tour de France and it's part of racing. This (stage) is a benefit for me. The Tour de France is not just about climbs and time trials, other aspects make the decision about what is the final result in Paris.
"It's risky but that's how it is. We'll fight for the best and do the best we can. We'll see what [Chris] Froome, [Vincenzo] Nibal and the others do, but for sure it's going to be tough."
Meanwhile his teammate Andy Schleck, who hasn't been on podiums as much in recent years, said, "I've still got a name, good capacity and good legs, even if I'm going into the Tour with low ambitions. My first objective is to help Fränk and Haimar and see how far I can go. I've got a good chance to go for a stage too. I'm realistic about what I can achieve but I believe I can do that. We'll see how the Tour goes."
At the BMC press conference, team leader Tejay van Garderen said, "Every year is different, 2012 was a special year, and I would be happy with a repeat of that. I’m not going to name what place on GC would make me happy. I just want to prove to myself and to the team just that I can stack up in three weeks of racing and that I am a Grand Tour rider. I want to explore the possibilities, do my best and see where I end up. If I say that I want to finish on the podium and I finish fourth place then that would be a disappointment, no I’m not going to say that."
While some riders are busy focusing on top finishes, other riders, like Jens Voigt, are just happy to be at the race. "To be honest, until two or three weeks ago I still wasn’t sure if I’d be in the Tour team because there were parts of this season where I couldn't perform the way I wanted to or how I expected to. So I rated my chances of starting as 40-60 against. So, I’m proud to be here and also honoured that Trek selected me," said Voigt.
Click here to check out the gallery of photos from today's press conferences and the team presentation as well.