Many of the top Pro-teams have begun to announce their teams for the Tour de France set to start in Monaco in 10 days time. Some surprises there are, but the vast majority are how we expected them with one of the strongest fields set to start including no less than 4 former winners. Below we take a look at each team with the riders announced so far.
Three riders confirmed: Maxime Bouet, David Le Lay and Christophe Moreau.
Six riders to be selected from: Freddy Bichot, Sylvain Calzati, Brice Feillu, Romain Feillu, Eduardo Gonzalo, Yann Huguet, Christophe Laurent, Geoffroy Lequatre, Anthony Ravard and Nicolas Vogondy.
Christophe Moreau seems to have gone off the boil somewhat, one for stage victories we think.
AG2R La Mondiale
Five riders confirmed: José-Luis Arrieta, Cyril Dessel, Vladimir Efimkin, Stéphane Goubert and Lloyd Mondory.
Four riders to be selected from: Hubert Dupont, John Gadret, Sébastien Hinault, Rinaldo Nocentini, Nicolas Roche and Ludovic Turpin.
Most of Ag2R’s squad are aging former stars so unlikely to see a winner from here. Hopes are high that Nicolas Roche will make the team giving Ireland a second starter.
Lance Armstrong, Alberto Contador, Andreas Klöden, Levi Leipheimer, Dmitriy Muravyev, Sergio Paulinho, Yaroslav Popovych, Gregory Rast and Haimar Zubeldia.
The team announced its squad today with 2007 winner Contador as team captain. Armstrong is looking stronger all the time and Kloden and Leipheimer have been fairly solid all year making this one of the strongest teams on paper. Popovych, Paulinho and Zubeldia are great domestiques and would be super-domestiques on most squads pointing to the strength and depth of this team. Surprisingly Chris Hormer and Jani Brajkovic were left out with Muravyev possibly included due to sponsor pressure?
Yesterday added pressure was heaped on the team as one US reporter filed a story suggesting that Contador was set to join Garmin-Slipstream with 1 or 2 key lieutenants had Astana failed to continue. Allegedly Garmin had even gone as far as to ship him a bike. The same report stated that Armstrong would have set up with the majority of the team including Bruyneel under a Trek-Livestrong branding. Is there trouble in paradise? Armstrong added fuel to the rumours by stating ‘Just read this (the story). JL may not be far off on this (for once). I’m choosing 2 ignore and remove myself from drama. TdF – hard enough.’ on the social media site Twitter.
Still Astana remain our favourites for the Tour, as to which rider – Contador most likely, Armstrong possibly.
BBox Bouygues Telecom
Six riders confirmed: Yukiya Arashiro, William Bonnet, Pierrick Fédrigo, Pierre Rolland, Yuriy Trofimov and Thomas Voeckler.
Three riders to be selected from: Julien Belgy, Giovanni Bernaudeau, Olivier Bonnaire, Franck Bouyer, Steve Chainel, Mathieu Claude, Damien Gaudin, Cyril Gautier, Yohan Gène, Saïd Haddou, Vincent Jerome, Arnaud Labbe, Guillaume Le Floch, Laurent Lefevre, Rony Martias, Alexandre Pichot, Perrig Quemeneur, Yevgeni Sokolov, Matthieu Sprick, Johann Tschopp and Sébastien Turgot.
Six riders confirmed: David Arroyo, Ivan Gutiérrez, Luis Pasamontes, Oscar Pereiro, Luis León Sánchez and Xabier Zandio.
Three riders to be selected from: Rui Costa, Arnaud Coyot, José Joaquin Rojas and Rigoberto Uran.
Without Valverde difficult to see this team getting the overall despite the presence of a former Tour winner, Pereiro (2006 winner following the disqualification of Floyd Landis). Sanchez and Pereiro are capable of stage victories and Arroyo can have good days too.
Inigo Cuesta, Volodymir Gustov, Heinrich Haussler, Thor Hushovd, Andreas Klier, Brett Lancaster, José Angel Gomez Marchante, Hayden Roulston and Carlos Sastre.
The defending champion now riding for a different team, expect Sastre to work hard to defend the title. Saxo bank effectively forced him out but Cervelo is strong and if he can be consistent Sastre is very dangerous. Had good days in the Giro but this would have been his season goal anyway. Expect Haussler and Hushovd to be among the main challengers to Cavendish in the sprints.
Cofidis Le Credit en Ligne
Stéphane Augé, Samuel Dumoulin, Leonardo Duque, Bingen Fernandez, Christophe Kern, Sébastien Minard, Amaël Moinard, David Moncoutié and Rémi Pauriol.
Team Columbia – Highroad
Nine riders to be selected from: Michael Albasini, Michael Barry, Marcus Burghardt, Mark Cavendish, Gert Dockx, Bernhard Eisel, Bert Grabsch, Andre Greipel, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Adam Hansen, Greg Henderson, George Hincapie, Kim Kirchen, Craig Lewis, Thomas Lovkvist, Tony Martin, Maxime Monfort, Marco Pinotti, Morris Possoni, Frantisek Rabon, Mark Renshaw, Vicente Reynes, Michael Rogers, Marcel Sieberg and Konstantsin Sivtsov.
Lots of this team you can guess and Cavendish will be hard to beat in a sprint especially with no Boonen. Might go all the way to Paris this year for the Green jersey. A few possible podium contenders here aswell and it would be nice to see George Hincapie do something.
Euskaltel – Euskadi
Nine riders to be selected from: Igor Antón, Mikel Astarloza, Koldo Fernández, Iñigo Landaluze, Egoi Martínez, Iñaki Isasi, Juan Jose Oroz, Alan Pérez, Rubén Pérez, Amets Txurruka and Gorka Verdugo.
Française des Jeux
Eight riders confirmed: Sandy Casar, Jérôme Coppel, Anthony Geslin, Yauheni Hutarovich, Sébastien Joly, Christophe Le Mével, Benoît Vaugrenard and Jussi Veikkanen.
One rider to be selected from: Rémy Di Gregorio and Jérémy Roy.
Garmin – Slipstream
Julian Dean, Tyler Farrar, Ryder Hesjedal, Dan Martin, David Millar, Danny Pate, Christian Vande Velde, Bradley Wiggins and David Zabriskie
An interesting one, it would be hard for VandeVelde to do much given his crash earlier in the Giro but he may ride his way into contention across the 3 weeks. Plenty of strength and depth in the team but if they are not in yellow after the team time trial it will be a disapointing season we think. Dan Martin makes his Tour debut, the Irish National Champ has a few days left in the jersey before he has to defend it but we don’t think he will. Could be a contender for King of the Mountains?
Alexandre Botcharov, Joan Horrach, Mikhail Ignatiev, Sergei Ivanov, Vladimir Karpets, Danilo Napolitano, Filippo Pozzato, Nikolay Trusov and Stijn Vandenbergh.
Lampre – NGC
Nine riders to be selected from: Alessandro Ballan, Marco Bandiera, Emanuele Bindi, Matteo Bono, Marzio Bruseghin, Vitaliy Buts, Damiano Cunego, Mauro Da Dalto, Angelo Furlan, Enrico Gasparotto, Francesco Gavazzi, Andrea Grendene, David Loosli, Mirco Lorenzetto, Marco Marzano, Massimiliano Mori, Manuel Mori, Simone Ponzi, Daniele Righi, Mauro Santambrogio, Marcin Sapa, Simon Spilak, Paolo Tiralongo, Francesco Tomei and Volodymyr Zagorodniy.
Daniele Bennati, Vincenzo Nibali, Franco Pellizotti, Roman Kreuziger, Fabio Sabatini, Alksandr Kuschynski, Alessandro Vanotti, Fredrik Willems and Brian Bach Vandborg.
Went well in the Giro but ultimately were somewhat dissapointing. Missing some key players but Nibali and Pellizotti are dangerous riders but we think not to the overall.
Gerald Ciolek, Markus Fothen, Johannes Fröhlinger, Linus Gerdemann, Christian Knees, Niki Terpstra, Peter Velits, Fabian Wegmann and Peter Wrolich.
Nine riders to be selected from: Carlos Barredo Llamazales, Tom Boonen, Dario Cataldo, Sylvain Chavanel, Dominique Cornu, Allan Davis, Steven de Jongh, Kevin De Weert, Dries Devenyns, Stijn Devolder, Addy Engels, Mauro Facci, Kurt Hovelynck, Kevin Hulsmans, Jérôme Pineau, Francesco Reda, Sébastien Rosseler, Hubert Schwab, Kevin Seeldrayers, Matteo Tosatto, Jurgen Van De Walle, Kevin Van Impe, Marco Velo, Wouter Weylandts and Maarten Wijnants.
With Boonen out the team is likely to be changed quite significantly from what it would have been if he was there. Could be interesting but unlikely to make the podium.
Stef Clement, Juan Antonio Flecha, Oscar Friere, Juan Manuel Garate, Robert Gesink, Denis Menchov, Grischa Niermann, Joost Posthuma and Laurens ten Dam.
Proved their strength at the Giro and Menchov wants this one. Good strength and depth, possibly top three teams with Astana and Columbia and we are putting them just ahead of Saxo bank.
Team Saxo Bank
Kurt-Asle Arvesen, Fabian Cancellara, Stuart O’Grady, Gustav Larsson, Andy Schleck, Fränk Schleck, Chris Anker Sørensen, Nicki Sørensen and Jens Voigt.
Some strong riders in all areas. Could do something, Cancellara will be the danger man in the Time trials.
Silence – Lotto
One rider confirmed: Cadel Evans.
Eight riders to be selected from: Mario Aerts, Mickael Delage, Thomas Dekker, Sebastian Lang, Matthew Lloyd, Roy Sentjens, Staf Scheirlinckx, Greg Van Avermaet, Jurgen Van den Broeck, Johan Vansummeren and Charles Wegelius.
Could this be the Australians year? Evans is riding well so far but does his team have the strength to protect him when the chips are down? This is where the strength of teams like Astana pay off. We worry about the strength of Silence-Lotto although they do have some good riders.
Skil – Shimano
Six riders confirmed: Simon Geschke, Jonathan Hivert, Cyril Lemoine, Piet Rooijakkers, Albert Timmer and Kenny van Hummel.
Three riders to be confirmed from: Fumiyuki Beppu, Ji Cheng, Roy Curvers, Bert De Backer, Koen de Kort, David Deroo, Mitchell Docker, Yukihiro Doi, Theo Eltink, Floris Goesinnen, Steve, Houanard, Thierry Huppond, Jin Long, Tom Veelers and Robert Wagner.