2008 winner looking to redeem himself after disappointing Giro d'Italia
Roman Kreuziger will get a second chance to prove his worth to the Astana team management by leading the squad in this week's Tour de Suisse.
Kreuziger came under criticism from the team's management with his lacklustre performance in the Giro d'Italia classification. Although he came away from Italy with a stage win at l'Alpe di Pampeago, hopes for bettering his fifth place in 2011 were dashed when he lost 11:26 on stage 17 to Cortina d'Ampezzo.
Switzerland could provide some redemption for the Czech rider. He has had ample success here, having won the 2008 edition over Andreas Klöden while racing with the Liquigas team and placing third in 2009.
"We will be assessing Kreuziger's form in the initial stages," said Astana directeur sportif Dmitri Sedoun. "I spoke with Roman over the last few days and he seemed very motivated. Not only does he love this race, where he shone at the start of his cycling career, but he also especially likes this year's parcours.
"There will be many decisive stages in this year's race. Of course, there is Friday's 34km time trial with hardly any flat road and then, in the last two days, two high-mountain stages finishing in Arosa and Sörenberg. The first group stage on Sunday 10th will also be important with the summit finish in Verbier; anyone who wants to fight for the general classification cannot let themselves get dropped on the last climb."
Kreuziger will be joined by Assan Bazayev, Francesco Gavazzi, Jacopo Guarnieri, Tanel Kangert, Fredrik Kessiakoff, Robert Kiserlovski and Dmitriy Muravyev.
"We will line up at the start with a very complete team," Sedoun said. "Apart from Roman, we will have Kiserlovski, who showed in the Ardennes Classics that he is an absolutely top-level rider. Then there is Kessiakoff, who is coming back after a period of forced rest, so we will see how he has recovered, and Gavazzi, who will be able to have a say in at least a couple of stage finishes. Guarnieri is there for the sprints, while Muravyev is continuing his preparation ahead of the Tour de France, with the Tour de Suisse offering a good test."