Columbia-HTC counting on Greipel, Grabsch and Kirchen for Vuelta a España

Kim Kirchen (Columbia-HTC)

Kim Kirchen (Columbia-HTC) (Image credit: Sirotti)

Though it will be racing without sprint star Mark Cavendish, Columbia-HTC is hoping to match its successful performances of the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France while racing at the Vuelta a España. Bunch sprint specialist André Greipel, time trial expert Bert Grabsch and GC contender Kim Kirchen will lead the team.

Kirchen is a former leader and top ten finisher in the Tour de France, Grabsch is the reigning World Time Trial Champion and Greipel's total of 15 wins this season thus far is second only to Columbia-HTC teammate Cavendish.

"The aim is essentially to shine on every different kind of terrain," said Columbia-HTC's sports director Brian Holm. "Kim is very motivated to take a strong result in the overall classification. His start to the season was all but ruined by injuries, so he's aiming to have a good end to the year.

"André is always ambitious in the sprints. You just have to look at his results to see that. And Bert [Grabsch] already knows what it takes to win in the Vuelta. He won a time trial stage there in 2007, and he's in good shape again.

"We've got lots of other cards to play, too," said Holm. "After doing a great Tour of Switzerland, Michael [Albasini] is eager to see what he can do in the overall for a major Tour, and I know Adam Hansen is motivated for the general classification. We have every chance of getting some top results in Spain."

The complete Columbia-HTC Team for the Vuelta includes Michael Albasini, André Greipel, Bert Grabsch, Adam Hansen, Greg Henderson, Kim Kirchen, Frantisek Rabon, Vicente Reynes and Marcel Sieberg.

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