Astana name team to support Fuglsang at Tour de France

The Astana team have named their eight-rider squad for the Tour de France with Jakob Fuglsang confirmed as team leader, with Magnus Cort  targeting the sprint finishes.

The line-up includes several Classics riders and rouleurs to protect Fuglsang in the opening nine stages in Brittany and across northern France, especially on the key stage across the cobbles to Roubaix.

Fuglsang finished second behind Richie Porte (BMC Racing) at the recent Tour de Suisse and seems on track for the Tour de France. The Dane won the Criterium du Dauphine in 2017, but then crashed hard on stage 11 of the Tour de France and eventually quit the race on two days later. He finished seventh in the 2013 Tour de France and believes this year’s route, including the testing first week in Brittany on the on the Roubaix cobbles, suits him.

“It looks interesting, it looks hard. For me, I think it can be a good Tour with the cobblestone stage. In general, I think the parcours can fit me quite well," Fuglsang said of the race route.

The 33-year-old Dane will have solid, experienced support from new Estonian time trial champion Tanel Kangert, Luis Leon Sanchez, fellow Danes Jesper Hansen and Michael Valgren who won the Amstel Gold Race and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

Dmitriy Gruzdev will be Astana’s road captain with Omar Fraile offering strong support. Astana looks solid for the important stage 3 team time trial around Cholet, while Hansen and Kangert will be there in the mountains.

Cort makes his Tour de France debut after twice riding the Vuelta a Espana, but the Danish sprinter is a skilled finisher on uphill sprints and could perhaps emerge as a threat to Peter Sagan in the fight for the green jersey thanks to his consistency.

Astana for the 2018 Tour de France: Magnus Cort, Dmitriy Gruzdev, Jakob Fuglsang, Omar Fraile, Jesper Hansen, Tanel Kangert, Luis Leon Sanchez and Michael Valgren.

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