IAM Cycling will make its Tour de France debut in a month having been awarded a wildcard entry by organisers ASO with its final nine-man team will be decided after several key races in June. The Critérium du Dauphiné, the Tour de Suisse, the Route du Sud and the Swiss championships have been targeted by the Pro-Continental team as key races in preparation for the primary aim of the season — the Tour.
"The Critérium du Dauphiné and the Tour of Switzerland are among the most prestigious stage races of the season," sports manager Serge Beucherie said. "Naturally they are very important. We are going there not only aiming for a good result, but also with a view towards our preparation for La Grande Boucle.
"This is not necessarily to say, however, that any riders absent from one or the other event could not possibly still be on the start line in Yorkshire on July 5."
The team is looking for immediate success at the Dauphiné with five-time French national time trial champion Sylvain Chavanel who recently won stage 3 of the Four Days of Dunkirk.
"For the Dauphiné, we are relying on Sylvain Chavanel in the initial stage which is a time trial in Lyon," Beucherie said. "But once the race heads into the mountains, we have the advantage of having riders like Stefan Denifl and Sébastien Reichenbach.
While the Dauphiné is a traditional warm-up race for the Tour but the Tour de Suisse is of higher importance to the team as Beucherie explained.
"As far as the Tour of Switzerland goes, it is important to remember that that is our national tour. Mathias Frank will be our leader and we have built a strong Swiss team around him. Riders like Martin Elmiger, Jonathan Fumeaux, Reto Hollenstein, Johann Tschopp as well as Marcel Wyss will be riding with a home field advantage.
"On top of that, we are heading to the Route du Sud with riders who will also be focused on fine-tuning their form for the Tour de France. I can assure you, though, that we are not taking these races lightly, and certainly are not looking at them as being training rides."
IAM Cycling for Critérium du Dauphiné: Matthias Brändle, Sylvain Chavanel, Stefan Denifl, Sébastien Hinault, Gustav Larsson, Jérôme Pineau, Sébastien Reichenbach and Aleksejs Saramotins.
Tour de Suisse: Mathias Frank, Martin Elmiger, Jonathan Fumeaux, Heinrich Haussler, Reto Hollenstein, Thomas Löfkvist, Johann Tschopp and Wyss Marcel.
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