Caisse d’Epargne announced its Tour line-up today with no space in the line-up for 2007 King of the Mountains Juan Mauricio Soler.
The Colombian injured his knee at the Criterium du Dauphiné, and faced an impossible battle to return to fitness ahead of the start in Rotterdam. The squad had already been considerably weakened following the suspension last month of team leader Alejandro Valverde for his role in Operacion Puerto.
In their absence, Caisse d’Epargne will be led by newly-crowned Spanish time-trial champion Luis Leon Sanchez. After a very solid season thus far, he will be looking both to add to his tally of two Tour stage wins and to improve on last year’s overall placing of 26th.
Spanish road race champion Ivan Gutierrez will also have the opportunity to show off his national champion’s colours on French roads as part of a team laden with top quality rouleurs. The men in black swept the podium in the Spanish time-trial championships, and along with Sanchez and Gutierrez, Ruben Plaza is also included.
Experienced 39-year-old Christophe Moreau, a strong sixth on the Alpe d'Huez stage of the Dauphiné, lines up for his 15th Tour start, while fellow Frenchman Mathieu Perget makes his Tour debut.
There is also space in the roster for the promising Portuguese talent Rui Costa, 2008 Giro stage winner Vasil Kiryienka, Vuelta stage winner Imanol Erviti and fast man Jose Joaquin Rojas.
Caisse d'Epargne's Tour de France squad: Imanol Erviti, Ivan Gutierrez, Vasil Kiryienka, Christophe Moreau, Mathieu Perget, Ruben Plaza, Jose Joaquin Rojas, Luis Leon Sanchez, Rui Costa.
Reserve: Luis Pasamontes:
Directeurs sportive: Yvon Ledanois and Jose Luis Jaimerena