The HTC-Columbia team has named its final line-up for the Vuelta a España, with Mark Cavendish leading an international squad that will support him in the sprints and also target success in the mountain stages later in the race. The USA’s Tejay Van Garderen will make his grand tour debut after an impressive first season with the team, including a third-place overall finish at the Criterium du Dauphiné in June.
Cavendish will ride the Vuelta for the first time in his career as he prepares for the world championships in Australia. His lead out train will include Bernhard Eisel, Lars Bak and Hayden Roulston, while recent GP Plouay winner Matt Goss could be an alternative to Cavendish in sprint finishes at the end of hillier stages.
"Our first goal is to get an early stage win with Mark, and then we will see how it goes from there," HTC-Columbia directeur sportif Tristan Hoffman said.
"He's in really good shape and very focused, to the point that he didn't do any criteriums after the Tour de France. He's going to the Vuelta for the first time and he's taking it very seriously. He knows there's a lot of climbing but he did really well in the mountains in the Tour de France and he will be looking to race as strongly in September as he did in July."
HTC-Columbia has selected Konstantin Sivtsov and Peter Velits as their hopes for stage victories in the mountain stages.
"Konstantin and Peter will pick a good day on the climbs and we'll try and take as many wins as possible there too. Tejay is also keen to see what he can do in his first major tour, although he's young and there'll be no pressure on him. So we've got lots of options, and we'll be giving it 100 percent."
The HTC-Columbia riders will travel to Seville in the south of Spain today. The Vuelta starts with a team time trial on Saturday evening and ends in Madrid on September 19.
HTC-Columbia for Vuelta a España: Lars Bak (Den); Mark Cavendish (GB); Bernhard Eisel (Aut), Matt Goss (Aus), Hayden Roulston (NZ), Konstantsin Sivtsov (Byl), Tejay Van Garderen (USA); Martin Velits (Svk), Peter Velits (Svk).