Kristoff and Rodríguez lead Katusha at the Tour de France

Team includes one Russian in their line-up

Alexander Kristoff and Joaquim Rodríguez will lead the Katusha team at the Tour de France as they target both the general classification and the points competition.

Kristoff won two stages of last year’s race and currently leads the victory standings in 2015 with 18 already wins on his palmarès, including the Tour of Flanders and a recent stage win at the Tour de Suisse.

Kristoff indicated at the end of last season that his big goal at the Tour de France would be stage wins and the green jersey. The new points system will benefit regular winners such as Kristoff.

“With the new rules I think it will be exciting. I don't think it will just be me or [Peter] Sagan, I think [Mark] Cavendish will also be there, it depends who gets the most victories," Kristoff told Cyclingnews. "I look forward to see what the changes do to the classification in the end."

Kristoff has been the most consistent sprinters in the peloton this season and is the most likely challenger to Sagan’s stranglehold over the green jersey competition. Supporting Kristoff will be his key leadout riders Marco Haller and Jacopo Guarnieri, the latter joining the team this season. The experienced Luca Paolini is likely to play road captain role and be the bridge between the sprinting and overall classification teams.

Rodríguez will be hoping to find the form that delivered him to third place at the 2013 Tour de France. It’s the first time the he will target the overall classification since then, after using the Tour as part of his recovery programme in 2014 following a series of crashes during the Ardennes Classics and the Giro d’Italia left him with three broken ribs.

Helping Rodríguez in the mountains will be Alberto Losada, Giampaolo Caruso and Tiago Machado. One notable name missing from Rodríguez’s usual support network is his fellow Spaniard Daniel Moreno. The 33-year-old recently finished 16th overall at the Tour de Suisse but has failed to make the cut.

There is one Russian in the line-up with Dmitry Kozonchuk, who is making his Tour de France debut but no place for Tour de Suisse overall winner Simon Spilak or Giro d'Italia stage winner Ilnur Zakarin.  

Katusha for the Tour de France: Alexander Kristoff, Marco Haller, Jacopo Guarnieri, Luca Paolini, Joaquim Rodríguez, Alberto Losada, Giampaolo Caruso, Tiago Machado, Dmitry Kozonchuk.

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