Bjarne Riis is set to put his faith in young Polish talent Rafa Majka to lead the Saxo Bank squad at the 2012 Giro d’Italia. With Alberto Contador set to forgo the corsa rosa and Richie Porte having departed for Sky, Majka may well be given his opportunity to shine in Italy next May.
“One of the goals for next year is to perhaps surprise a little and do a good Giro with the young Polish rider Majka, who might try and go for the general classification,” Riis told sporten.tv2.dk.
The 22-year-old Majka was a late addition to Saxo Bank’s 2011 roster, signing for the team in late February. His strongest run of performances came in his home Tour de Pologne, where he finished 24th overall. The climber also made his grand tour debut at the Vuelta a España, but was forced out by a crash in the final week while lying 39th on GC.
While Majka is set to spearhead Saxo Bank’s overall challenge, Juan José Haedo will be looking to pick up a sprint win along the way. The Argentinean fastman won his first-ever grand tour stage at the Vuelta, while his fine Tirreno-Adriatico stage victory last March augurs well for his chances on the technical sprint finales of the Giro.
“We also want to win some stages with Juan José,” Riis added. “I believe that we can go for both – that is the goal.”
The Saxo Bank squad is currently on its first training camp of the 2012 campaign in Acre, Israel.