At a press conference in Bern today, Phonak Hearing Systems named its roster for the Tour de France. The nine-man squad boasts 32 years of Tour de France experience, as well as featuring riders from nine different countries.
Floyd Landis will be the team captain, with support from Miguel Angel Perdiguero, Axel Merckx, Bert Grabsch, Koos Moerenhout, Nicolas Jalabert, Robert Hunter, and climbers Alexandre Moos and Victor Hugo Peña. "It was important to find a good balance between good climbers and pacesetters," said team manager John Lelangue, explaining his main focus when selecting the Tour de France team.
Phonak also underlined experience, with 33-year old Frenchman Nicolas Jalabert set to ride his eighth Tour, and Axel Merckx his seventh. Alex Moos will be in his second Tour, while Miguel Angel Perdiguero will be competing in the race for the first time.
South African sprinter Robert Hunter's nomination was uncertain after his a month ago at the Volta a Catalunya saw him undergo a shoulder operation. But his hand injury did not involve any broken bones, and he is now pain free. "Robert Hunter has shown what's possible with enormous willpower," said team doctor Denise Demir.
"We want to win the Tour," said Floyd Landis. "That has to be the goal. We will do everything we can to reach that goal."