By Tim Maloney
Team Barloworld general manager Claudio Corti is one happy guy after snagging a start in this year's Tour de France with his British-registered, Italy-based, South African-backed squad. Having been involved with the Tour on many occasions while at the helm of Team Saeco, Corti was left without a team in last year's 2006 Tour after his squad was absorbed into the Lampre team and he's glad to be back at the prestigious Grand Tour in 2007. "This is my 14th Tour and I'm very glad to be back", Corti said. "We have worked hard to build this team and had a good year in 2007 with Barloworld and our 12 wins have shown the Tour organizers that we are the Continental Pro team that deserves to be invited."
While his squad lacks the big names of its Tour counterparts, Corti is hopeful that his Robbie Hunter-lead team will take a stage victory. Hunter has already been mixing with the peloton's pointy end, having finished fourth in Stage 2's Quickstep-Innergetic dominated sprint finish. "We will try our hardest to do something here; perhaps a stage win could happen and if the race is wide open we may even have a rider for a decent ride for the GC, but we won't know more until the Alps," he said.
"This is the 10th year I have worked with Cannondale and they just delivered all the new Super Six team bikes for the Tour," said Corti, proudly showing off the squad's bikes. "The riders are really happy to have these new all carbon fibre models for the race."