The Russian Katusha team has named its nine riders for the Tour de France, confirming it will target stage victories with Joaquim Rodriguez and Alexander Kristoff. The team also hopes recent Criterium du Dauphine stage winner Yury Trofimov can finish in the top ten overall.
Also in the final nine-rider roster are: Egor Silin, Simon Špilak, Aleksandr Porsev, Luca Paolini, Gatis Smukulis and Vladimir Isaychev.
Rodriguez finished third overall in the 2013 Tour de France but the Catalan rider will target stage victories in the Alps and Pyrenees after an injury-hit spring, having crashed out of the Giro d'Italia. He also plans to target the Vuelta a Espana in the final part of the season.
Milan-San Remo winner Alexander Kristoff will take on Mark Cavendish, Marcel Kittel and the other sprinters on the flat stages.
"Team Katusha brings to the Tour de France a balanced roster, where a part of the team will be aiming for mountain stages and another part will aim for the sprinters’ stages," team manager Viacheslav Ekimov said when announcing the team's sixth participation in the Tour de France.
"This line-up reflects two main objectives for the team in the race. On the one hand Yury Trofimov will fight for the Top-10 of the general classification. From the other side Alexander Kristoff will fight with the world’s best sprinters in the flat stages. In addition, this year Joaquim Rodriguez, one of the undoubted leaders of Team Katusha, goes to the Tour de France in the unusual role of a freelancer. We hope 'Purito' will be able to find good form, which will allow him to fight for a stage win."
"I think Katusha is ready for a new three-week adventure and the only thing I would like to wish for our team is just some good luck, the only component we really missed at the Giro d’Italia."
The 2014 Tour de France starts on Saturday July 5 with a 190km road stage from Leeds to Harrogate.
Katusha for the Tour de France: Alexander Kristoff, Joaquim Rodriguez, Vladimir Isaychev, Luca Paolini, Aleksandr Porsev, Egor Silin, Gatis Smukulis, Simon Špilak, Yury Trofimov