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Francesco Reda (Quick Step)
Italian replaces injured Boonen
Francesco Reda will make his Tour de France debut on Saturday, replacing the injured Tom Boonen. Team Quick Step announced the substitution Tuesday afternoon.
The team had wanted to take sprinter Wouter Weylandt, but was unable to do so, since he was not on the list of 15 riders the team had submitted to race organisers earlier in the year.
Reda, 27, is in his second year with the Belgian team. He fractured his collarbone in a crash in Tirreno-Adriatico, but returned quickly to racing. He has ridden the Giro d'Italia twice.
"We have loads of confidence in Francesco and his athletic freshness," said team manager Patrick Lefevere.
"I'm very excited. I've always dreamt of competing in the Tour de France," Reda said. "I'm starting out with the goal of riding my best, stage after stage, and, if I get the chance, I'll try to take advantage of my chances to capture the best results."
"We're absolutely sure that Francesco will prove his worth during the race," said sports director Wilfried Peeters. "We're definitively counting on standing out in the stages in which we do best, and we'll be pushing for at least a partial success."