Cavendish gets ample support for Tour de France sprints

The Omega Pharma-Quickstep team today announced its final Tour de France squad via video release, naming the seven riders who will support sprinter Mark Cavendish and general classification hopeful Michal Kwiatkowski in the race, which begins July 5 in Yorkshire.

Tour de Suisse double stage winner Tony Martin will be a versatile member of the team, capable of winning the sole individual time trial which takes place on the penultimate stage from Bergerac to Périgueux. He has also demonstrated the ability to be a useful lead-out man for sprints as well as controlling races for the general classification.

Martin helped Matteo Trentin to a stage victory last week while wearing the leader's jersey of the Tour de Suisse, and the young Italian will be included in the Tour de France squad, too.

Cavendish gets another three riders for his sprint train, with veteran Alessandro Petacchi, Mark Renshaw, and Niki Terpstra, while Kwiatkowski can rely on Jan Bakelants and his compatriot Michal Golas on the climbs. The team looks to be geared less toward the general classification than it is toward sprints and stage wins. Bakelants last year won stage 2 in the Tour de France and wore the maillot jaune for two days. Trentin won a stage in last year's Tour de France as well, but is normally one of the last men leading out Cavendish. Terpstra, winner of Paris-Roubaix, will be a prime contender for victory on stage 5 to Arenberg.

Kwiatkowski's form had a question mark over it after a substandard performance at the Critérium du Dauphiné. He was due to undergo testing to figure out why he was lacking form after a brilliant start to the year in which he racked up eight victories, including Strade Bianche and the Volta ao Algarve, and two podium spots in the Ardennes Classics.

Not making the cut from the long list, announced last week, were Thomas De Gendt, Martin Velits, Gert Steegmans and Tom Boonen. Boonen had stated he would not target the Tour de France, preferring to aim for the Vuelta a España as preparation for the world championships.

Omega Pharma-Quickstep for the Tour de France: Jan Bakelants, Mark Cavendish, Michal Golas, Michal Kwiatkowski, Tony Martin, Alessandro Petacchi, Mark Renshaw, Niki Terpstra, and Matteo Trentin.

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