Daniel Navarro, Jesus Hernandez and Benjamin Noval all came over from Astana to Saxo Bank-SunGard with Alberto Contador for the 2011 season, to ride in support of their fellow Spaniard. With the 2010 Tour de France winner likely of getting a suspension, they are facing a season without him, but team boss Bjarne Riis still has high expectations of the trio.
"Of course it is hard for the three to see the problems that Contador is having. And especially for Jesus Hernandez, because he is so close to Alberto," Riis told Ekstra Bladet.
"I feel confident that all three will emerge as a clear win for the team. They have been accustomed to work for Contador, but they each have so much class that I believe that even without their captain they can help.”
When the trio was signed, it was suggested that Contador had brought them in more or less against Riis' wishes. But the Dane is now happy to have them.
"Certainly I can confirm that I have not for one moment regretted that I hired them. And after having got to know them and seeing how they are both personally and athletically, I am sure they will work fine in the squad without Contador.”
The trio will make their season debut at the Volta ao Algarve, February 16 to 20. "It was here that Contador should also have had his debut and with the form he is in, he would most obviously have been a good bet to win.”
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