Trek Factory Racing has confirmed Andy Schleck, Fränk Schleck and Jens Voigt as the three final members of its Tour de France line-up. The team took the unorthodox step of naming the first six riders on the roster via Twitter on Tuesday afternoon, before revealing the final three names on Wednesday.
Andy Schleck has struggled since taking second overall at the 2011 Tour but he secured his ticket to this year’s race by finishing in 29th at the Tour de Suisse last weekend. Although his selection was only confirmed this week, it was clear that he was likely to make the cut given the dearth of options at Trek.
“I’m not a super leader but on the other hand, there isn’t a big choice for the moment. We don’t have fifteen riders in top form,” Schleck had Le Quotidien ahead of the final decision from Trek Factory Racing management.
Team manager Luca Guercilena noted that Schleck will be at the Tour to ride in support of his brother Fränk and Haimar Zubeldia, rather than as a leader in his own right.
“Andy will ride in support of Fränk and Haimar in the climbs He will not have a personal focus on the GC. It shouldn’t be a surprise that we’re lining him up as a support rider for his brother and for Haimar,” Guercilena said on the Trek Factory Racing website. “He showed a lot of desire, and he has progressed since the Classics. Riders of his stature should have the opportunity to compete in the race that made them great.”
Fränk Schleck admitted last month that his Tour place was by no means certain and his hopes were dealt a further blow when his Tour de Suisse was cut short by a crash on stage 2. After a solid but unspectacular opening to the year – 6th at Critérium International was the highlight – Schleck returns to the Tour for the first time since his positive test for Xipamide in 2012.
“Fränk and Haimar are two riders with experience in GC; they have shown what they are worth and they have our trust,” Guercilena said.
The final name added to the Trek roster was that of Jens Voigt, who at 42 years of age is making what seems likely to be his final appearance in the Tour de France. When Voigt lines up in Leeds on July 5, it will be his 17th successive Tour start, a sequence dating back to 1998.
The six riders already confirmed on Tuesday as part of the Trek team were Fabian Cancellara, Gregory Rast, Danny van Poppel, Markel Irizar, Haimar Zubeldia and Matthew Busche.
Cancellara returns to the Tour after missing the race in 2013, and he will look to shine in particular on stage five to Arenberg, which tackles some of the sectors of pavé from Paris-Roubaix, a race he was won three times.
“Fabian is a favourite for the cobblestone stage, but like many other riders he’s in the Tour to be competitive every day, not only for one stage,” Guercilena said. “Sure it’s a good day for him because it’s pavé, but it’s not a ‘Classic during a Grand Tour.’ It’s a lot shorter, so the scenario will be very different than in April.”
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