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Astana name Tour de France squad

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A focused Jakob Fuglsang (Astana)

A focused Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Enrico Gasparotto (Astana Pro Team)

Enrico Gasparotto (Astana Pro Team) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Janez Brajkovic (Slovenia)

Janez Brajkovic (Slovenia) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Fredrik Kessiakoff and Kevin Seeldraeyers (Astana)

Fredrik Kessiakoff and Kevin Seeldraeyers (Astana) (Image credit: Ruta de Sol a Sol)
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Andriy Grivko (Astana)

Andriy Grivko (Astana) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Astana has confirmed that Jakob Fuglsang will lead the squad at the Tour de France, announcing their long list for the French Grand Tour which starts on June 29 in Corsica.

A 13-man squad has been announced with a final selection due next week following the conclusion of the Tour de Suisse.

"For certain Fuglsang will be our captain when we line up to start in Corsica on June 29, but there are still some open slots and it's important to watch how the riders go in Switzerland before we choose the very best for France," said Astana general manager Alexandre Vinokourov.

Three riders also pre-selected, Janez Brajkovic, Enrico Gasparotto and Andrey Kashechkin are currently riding in Switzerland. Ninth overall at the Tour de France in 2012, Brajkovic indicated earlier in the year that he would skip the Grand Boucle this year in favour of targeting the Giro and Vuelta a Espana but given he missed the Italian Grand Tour, it's likely that he'll be at the start line in Corsica.

Fuglsang has based his entire season around the Tour de France, and last week finished a career-best fourth overall at the Critérium du Dauphiné, the Dane narrowly missing a stage win finishing runner-up to Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel Euskadi) on the stage to Superdévoluy.

Astana directeur sportif Dmitriy Sedoun said Fuglsang's results showed he was on track to his goal of finishing in the Tour's top-10.

"We will stay here in the region for the next few days to do a time trial reconnaissance for the Tour de France stage, and then fly to Tenerife to resume high-altitude training before July," Sedoun said following the Dauphiné. "Jakob is about 80-85 percent ready now, but what is most important is that we are following the plan we set out at the beginning of the season and working step by step. He can add some more fitness in Tenerife, for certain, but when we look at the final GC here at the Dauphine we are very pleased to see the company we keep."

Also included on the Astana long list, is 2012 runner-up in the mountains classification to Europcar's Thomas Voeckler in a fierce battle, Fredrik Kessiakoff, last in action at the Giro d'Italia last month.

Astana long list for the Tour de France: Jakob Fuglsang, Assan Bazayev, Janez Brajkovic, Enrico Gasparotto, Francesco Gavazzi, Andrei Grivko, Jacopo Guarnieri, Andrey Kashechkin, Fredrik Kessiakoff, Alexey Lutsenko, Dmitriy Muravyev, Kevin Seeldraeyers, Egor Silin.


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