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The month of May is an important launching pad for IAM Cycling as the team prepares for its maiden Tour de France appearance in July courtesy of a wildcard invitation. For sports director Rubens Bertogliati, the Tour of Norway is a key part of the build up for the French Grand Tour and expects his team to animate the UCI 2.1 five day race.
"We are not going there to watch the others. We are going there to get results. We need to gain confidence in Norway," said Bertogliati, who will share DS duties with Kjell Carlström.
"After doing the Tour of Romandie and before we tackle stage races like the Critérium du Dauphiné and the Tour de Suisse, this race gives us the chance to get back into the rhythm with some beautiful stages. There is as much for the sprinters to do as the climbers."
With a busy racing schedule in May across Europe, it is an ideal time to get extra kilometres in the rider legs before they tackle the 3,656km the Tour has on offer in 2014.
"During the month of May, we have events like the Tour of Norway, World Ports Classic, Tour of Bavaria and the Tour of Belgium. These races help us to prepare for upcoming events like the Critérium du Dauphiné and Tour de Suisse, not to mention the Tour de France. The upcoming races in May are important to accumulate the kilometers in view of our big objectives.
In 2013 IAM Cycling won the team classification at the race and Johann Tschopp was ninth on GC behind overall winner Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky). The aim for 2014 is to improve upon last year's efforts and animate the race.
"We're not going to Norway to force the decisive selections, but that doesn't stop us from thinking about making some results. At last year's edition, we won the team classification. Sébastien Hinault and Matteo Pelucchi took third in two stages while Johann Tschopp, Reto Hollenstein and Sébastien Reichenbach all finished in the top 15 overall," said Bertogliati.
"That means that this year too, we're not going to Norway just to play second fiddle."
IAM Cycling for the Tour of Norway: Jonathan Fumeaux, Sébastien Hinault, Gustav Larsson, Sébastien Reichenbach, Aleksejs Saramotins and Patrick Schelling.