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Jonathan Vaughters (Garmin-Sharp)
Martin, Talansky and Hesjedal lead overall challenge
Jonathan Vaughters introduced his Garmin-Sharp Tour de France line-up as “a group of guys that together can create chaos,” confident that they can take on Team Sky, BMC and Saxo-Tinkoff in the fight for success in the mountains and perhaps even overall success.
Sitting between Rohan Dennis, Dan Martin, Ryder Hesjedal, David Millar and Andrew Talansky in their hotel, Vaughters and his riders revealed their goals, their hopes and their ambitions for the 2013 Tour de France.
Garmin-Sharp was the last team to name its final line-up of riders for the Tour de France, revealing the names as the riders were already on the way to Corsica. Vaughters left out sprinter Tyler Farrar and the likes of Johan Vansummeren, opting for a band of climbers and overall contenders, a blend of youth and experience that could also target the team time trial stage in Nice on Tuesday.
"Last year I had a lot of hesitation when I made the final Tour de France selection and let a lot of information into the equation. I didn't go with my gut. And even if David Millar won a great stage, we didn’t have a great Tour de France," he said.
"This year I went with my gut and it was a hard, hard choice to get it down to the final team. But I went with instinct and with what has been our formula for success for the last eight or nine months of racing. We've won the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, Catalunya and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. In all of those races we won it on the basis of strength of the whole team. Of course one rider closed the deal, but each time we played an aggressive strategy and there were three, four or even five guys on the team could have won the race and then one did."
"That's our strength and we’re going in with the same open strategy. We don't have one superstar but we have a bonded group of guys that together can create chaos in the race and create a situation where can perform way above what anyone's expectations of us are.”
Vaughters then introduced Dennis, Martin, Hesjedal, Millar and Talansky. Missing from the press conference but also in the Garmin-Sharp Tour de France team are Christian Vande Velde, Tom Danielson, Ramunas Navardauskas and Jack Bauer.
"Our team is a little bit more climbing focused than it has been in the past. I thought that might take the edge off our TTT but from what I saw in training, these guys have put it together. The collective is incredibly strong," Vaughters said.
"Potentially we have five guys that can ride for the GC and we have 'the' potential to win the race. I'm not going to say it's a large possibility; actually it's a very, very, very small possibility. But I can dream. It's two days before the race.
"The parcours is hillier than it's been, so it gives greater opportunities for riders like Dan, so I selected team on that basis. I think we've proven we're a great team for mountain stage races and so I feel we need to focus on that and on the guys who will be future of this team for the next five or six years."