Joaquim Rodriguez will look to land on the podium of the Tour de France, after finishing on the podium of both the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a Espana in 2012. It will be only the second time the Spaniard has ridden the race.
The Katusha Team captain will be supported by Pavel Brutt, Alexander Kristoff, Aliaksandr Kuchynski, Alberto Losada, Daniel Moreno, Gatis Smukulis, Yuriy Trofimov and Eduard Vorganov.
“I think we will have the best and strongest roster we could choose,” said Sport Director Valerio Piva. “We will have Joaquim Rodriguez as a leader, and our main goal is to fight for general classification with him. For this aim, we have strong climbers such as Losada, Trofimov and, of course, Moreno, that will be our second in command.
“Moreover, we have also riders for protecting our leader in the first part of the competition, like Brutt, Smukulis, Kuchynski and Vorganov: I expect their work to be crucial, especially in the team time trial and in the breakaways. Then, we will have Kristoff for sprinters' stages, even if we won't have a real train in order to help him: but he's in a great shape, so I think he can do a good job and also support the team in some stages.”
The team has spent much time preparing “on site” for the race, checking out many of the stages in advance. “The three stages in Corsica will be tough, especially the third, that's why we will be there a little earlier than expected in order to check it. Obviously, the third week will be crucial and the most demanding one: but it's a three-week long competition, so we have to pay attention everyday.
“Anyways, we checked all the time trials, we went to see the courses of Pyrenees stages, we tried the Alps during and after 'Criterium du Dauphiné', so we will be very prepared and motivated to reach our goals.”
Katusha Team for the Tour de France 2013: Pavel Brutt, Alexander Kristoff, Aliaksandr Kuchynski, Alberto Losada, Daniel Moreno, Joaquim Rodriguez, Gatis Smukulis, Yuriy Trofimov and Eduard Vorganov.