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IAM Cycling out to prove worthy of Tour de France wildcard invitation

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Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling) attacks his rivals

Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling) attacks his rivals (Image credit: Tim de Waele/
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Martin Elmiger (IAM Cycling)

Martin Elmiger (IAM Cycling) (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)

When IAM Cycling lines up in Leeds on Saturday for the first stage of the 2014 Tour de France, it will be the realisation of the primary objective that the Swiss Pro-Continental team outlined at its formation in January 2013.

The team is looking to propel Matthias Frank into a high overall placing when the race concludes in Paris on July 27 although they will look for any opportunities to claim a stage win.

The final preparation for the team occurred on the journey to Leeds with the team's reccy of all the sections of pavé that will feature on stage five where Sylvain Chavanel and Heinrich Haussler will look for the stage win.

While the team's founder, Michel Thétaz, is satisfied with securing a wildcard invitation to La Grande Boucle, he expects the riders to demonstrate that are worthy of their selection in the race.

"For me, the Tour de France has become an obsession, Thétaz said. " On Saturday when we start the first stage on the roads of Yorkshire, we will receive confirmation of the validity of our work the past 18 months in the peloton. This is a great reward that highlights the quality of our riders and staff.

"An invitation to the Tour de France is not a fluke. We won and deserved our place through hard work at all times, and with plenty of victories and high placings that our riders earned while still perfectly representing the values I want to highlight.

"We are not coming to the Tour de France with a sense of having already accomplished our goal," he said. "We want to prove again that we deserve our invitation. To do this, and following consultation with our sports directors, we want to race on two fronts, even if this may seem a bit ambitious for our first participation.

With nine victories so far in 2014 and several high overall placings, Thétaz is confident of a good showing by the team to be led by Frank who was runner up to world champion Rui Costa at the Tour de Suisse.

"We have built the team around Frank to help him finish as high as possible in the overall classification," he explained. "And with individuals as talented and experienced as Sylvain Chavanel, Martin Elmiger and Heinrich Haussler, we also will fight for stage wins."

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