Dane set for Tour Down Under debut
Although his Saxo-Tinkoff team’s participation in the race is still not certain, Chris Anker Sørensen has said that helping Alberto Contador win next year’s Tour de France would be the highlight of his career.
Saxo-Tinkoff is currently waiting to learn if it has received a WorldTour licence for 2013 and automatic entry to the three Grand Tours but Sørensen is enthusiastic about the team’s transfer campaign and noted that there would be stiff competition for places on the Tour team.
Roman Kreuziger and Nicolas Roche have joined the team from Astana and Ag2r-La Mondiale, respectively, as the squad looks to buttress the support it offers Contador in the high mountains.
"The quality of the riders we have on the team for the upcoming season is top notch,” Sørensen told the Saxo-Tinkoff website. “I'm looking forward to seeing how Kreuziger will develop. He will certainly be a big help for Alberto in the big races but I'm sure that he at some point will get a chance of his own during the season.
“The wide range of quality riders also makes it harder to get a spot in the Tour de France line-up than was the case this year. I'm not sure of getting a spot.”
A double Tour winner – he was stripped of the title in 2010 after testing positive for clenbuterol – Contador has appeared in just one Grande Boucle since he joined Saxo Bank, finishing 5th in 2011.
Even though he already has a prestigious Giro d’Italia stage win at Terminillo on his palmares from 2010, Sørensen said that riding in the service of a Tour champion would be the biggest achievement of his career.
“It is the biggest race existing and to be able to win overall with Alberto would be the biggest highlight of my career,” he said. “But we have a lot of great riders this year and my spot in the line-up depends on my own performance in the spring.”
Sørensen will begin his campaign earlier than normal in 2013 as he makes his Tour Down Under debut in January, while the Ardennes Classics will be his primary target in the opening part of the season.
Saxo and its forerunner CSC used to have a tradition of undertaking military-style team building camps in Denmark during the winter, but this time around, the under-fire Bjarne Riis opted to bring his men to Gran Canaria. For Sørensen, the camp provided a long-awaited opportunity to declare his canary yellow loyalties.
“It was great fun and finally we had football with the program. I've been waiting for seven years to get the chance to flash my Norwich City shirt so obviously it was quite a joy for me,” he said.
- Tour de France 2013