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Kristoff and Rodriguez to lead Katusha at the Tour de France

In a series of Twitter posts on Tuesday Team Katusha revealed the nine men, including Alexander Kristoff and Joaquim Rodriguez, that lead the team in the Tour de France, set to start on July 2 in Mont-Saint-Michel.

Kristoff was the first rider revealed and will no doubt lead the team in the sprints at this year’s event. The Norwegian is two-time stage winner, securing those victories in the 2014 edition of the race, while last year his best finish was third place in stage 15. To help with the sprints are Jacopo Guarnieri and Michael Mørkøv and strong-man Marco Haller.

The team also announced climbing duo Rodriguez and Ilnur Zakarin to the Tour team. Rodriguez has competed in 23 Grand Tours, and this will be his fifth Tour de France. His best overall placing was third in 2013. He won two stages; in Huy and in Plateau de Beille, and placed 29th overall last year.

Rodriguez set his sights on performing well at this year’s Tour de France and the Olympic Games. He has raced a full spring campaign that started at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and then Volta ao Algarve, where he did not finish. He also raced Tirreno-Adriatico, Volta a Catalunya, and Pais Vasco, where he was fifth overall. His Ardennes Classics were mediocre as he did not finish Amstel Gold due to a crash, was 28th at La Fleche Wallonne and eighth at Liege-Bastogne-Liege. He recently competed at the Criterium du Dauphine but pulled out on stage 7.

Zakarin was a part of Katusha’s Giro d’Italia team where he abandoned during stage 19 to Risoul. While sitting in fifth overall, he crashed on the descent of the massive Colle dell'Agnello that left him with a fractured collarbone and shoulder. He will likely want to comeback with a strong performance at the Tour de France.

Two-time finisher on the oveall podium at the Tour de France, Jurgen Van den Broeck will also be there to provide assistance in the mountains, while also having a shot at a top placing himself. Also to help in the mountains are Alberto Losada and Angel Vicioso.

Team Katusha for the Tour de France: Alexander Kristoff, Joaquim Rodriguez, Ilnur Zakarin, Alberto Losada, Michael Morkov, Jurgen van den Broeck, Marco Haller, Angel Vicioso and Jacopo Guarnieri.

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Kirsten Frattini

Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all men's and women's races including Spring Classics, Grand Tours, World Championships and Olympic Games, and writes and edits news and features. As the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten also coordinates and oversees the global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.