As expected, Denis Menchov will be missing from the Rabobank team as it lines up for the start of the 63rd Vuelta a España on Sunday, August 30. Menchov has won the 2007 race and was later declared the winner of the 2005 Vuelta as well. Noting that racing the Tour always left him in good form for the Vuelta, Menchov rode the Giro this year. He was hoping to be in top form for his main objective, the Tour de France. He ended the race in a respectable fourth place. But having already ridden two Grand Tours this year left him too tired to not be tackling a third.
The team will instead be led by 22 year-old Dutch sensation Robert Gesink, who will be looking to establish his own Grand Tour credentials after fourth places at Paris-Nice and the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré this year.
Tour de France green jersey winner Oscar Freire will be on the on the hunt for stage victories, as well as using the race to hone his World Championships form; the Spanish sprinter will be bidding for an unprecedented fourth rainbow jersey in Varese this September.
The full Rabobank team for the 63rd Vuelta will consist of Robert Gesink, Oscar Freire, Pedro Horrillo, Juan Antonio Flecha, Mauricio Ardila, Grischa Niermann, Marc de Maar, Theo Eltink and Dmitriy Kozontchuck.(BA)