Katusha pair line up at Tour de France
Dani Moreno believes that his Katusha leader Joaquim Rodriguez is stronger than ever and has vowed that they will seek out opportunities to unsettle Team Sky during the Tour de France.
Moreno has been a deluxe domestique for Rodriguez in recent years, and although they reversed their roles when he won Flèche Wallonne in April, he said that the hierarchy at Katusha for the Tour is clear.
“I see that he [Rodriguez] is going stronger than ever. I believe in him,” Moreno told Marca. “When you see the start list, it’s a bit intimidating but we have a really great team and we can do things on all terrains. And everything is easier when you have a leader like ‘Purito.’”
Like Rodriguez, Moreno’s sole Tour participation to date came in 2010, when he finished 21st overall. After finishing 5th at last year’s Vuelta a España, the 31-year-old has demonstrated his own credentials over three weeks but he said that he begins the Tour without any personal ambitions. “My aim is held Purito wear the yellow jersey,” he said.
Standing in their way will be race favourite Chris Froome and his redoubtable Sky team, who have dominated stage racing over the past two seasons. Moreno and Rodriguez saw Sky’s collective might at close quarters during the recent Critérium du Dauphiné, where Moreno finished third overall behind Froome and Richie Porte.
“Sky has been showing for some time that it’s a great team, maybe the best in the world,” Moreno said. “Froome’s form this year has been spectacular and, as he showed at the Dauphiné, he is one of the main favourites to take the win. We’ll have to be very wary of the British and search for opportunities to hurt them.”
In the absence of Vincenzo Nibali and Bradley Wiggins, the greatest threat to Froome’s chances looks set to come from south of the Pyrenees, with Rodriguez, Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) leading the Spanish challenge.
“We’ve got a good group of Spanish riders,” Moreno agreed. “We all know who Alberto Contador is and what he can do at the Tour. If you have already won the race before, why not again?”
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