FDJ and Astana also confirm riders for season opener
Three more rosters have been confirmed for the 2014 Santos Tour Down Under with Tinkoff-Saxo, FDJ.fr and Astana announcing their teams for the first WorldTour race of the year. Danish dual Grand Tour stage winner Nicki Sorensen will headline the seven-man Tinkoff-Saxo roster in his fourth appearance at the race. The Tour Down Under will be the debut for Tinkoff-Saxo who were previously known as Saxo-Tinkoff.
Tour Down Under Race Director Mike Turtur said cycling fans can expect a strong performance from the Danish team."Tinkoff-Saxo is bringing an exciting roster to the Tour Down Under and Australia will be well represented with Jay McCarthy and Rory Sutherland," Turtur said.
"Aussie cyclists are always the crowd favourites here in Adelaide so it is fantastic to see McCarthy and Sutherland returning to the race."
The Tinkoff-Saxo team competing at the 2014 Santos Tour Down Under, led by manager Guidi Fabrizio, includes: Nicki Sorensen, Jay McCarthy, Michael Andersen, Nicolay Trusov, Christopher Juul Jensen, Michael Kolar and Rory Sutherland.
FDJ.fr pinning hopes on Veikkanen
Finnish national road race champion, Jussi Veikkanen, returns to Adelaide with FDJ.fr hoping to improve upon his tenth place overall in 2013. Veikkanen will be a strong contender for the Ochre Jersey and Turtur believes he will have good support from his experienced French teammates.
"FDJ.fr always bring a competitive team to the Tour Down Under and this the year their focus will be on supporting Veikkanen in his bid for the Ochre Jersey," Turtur said.
FDJ.fr will make their ninth appearance at the Tour Down Under in 2014. Yvon Madiot will lead the team from the car throughout the race which includes the following riders: William Bonnet, Arnaud Corteille, Kenny Elissonde, Pierre-Henri Lecuisinier, Anthony Roux, Geoffrey Soupe and Jussi Veikkanen.
Westra to lead Astana
Dutch National Time Trial Champion Lieuwe Westra will make his debut for Astana in his first appearance at the Tour Down Under. The winner of stage one at the 2013 Amgen Tour of California, Westra will be backed by his Kazakh team and Turtur said the team will be looking for a good result to kick off the 2014 season.
"Astana is bringing a solid roster to Adelaide and Lieuwe Westra is an experienced addition to the seven-man team," Turtur said. "Westra had a brilliant season with the stage win at the Amgen Tour of California before going on to win the time trial at the Dutch National Championships.
"As the first WorldTour event of the season the Santos Tour Down Under is an important race for all teams and with the calibre of cyclists we are attracting, it is getting bigger and better every year," said Turtur.
Astana Director Sportif, Stefano Zanini will manage the team once again at the Santos Tour Down Under. "We are coming to the Tour Down Under with Gavazzi and Gasparotto to work for stages, and we are pleased to bring Dutch National time trial champion Lieuwe Westra to Australia for his first race in Astana kit."
The roster announced today also includes 2012 Amstel Gold Race winner Enrico Gasparotto and Tour of Beijing stage winner Francesco Gavazzi as well as fellow Italians Valerio Agnoli and Jacopo Guarnieri.
The Astana team competing at the 2014 Santos Tour Down Under led by manager Stefano Zanini includes: Enrico Gasparotto, Andriy Grivko, Francesco Gavazzi, Lieuwe Westra, Evan Huffman, Valerio Agnoli and Jacopo Guarnieri.