Belgian team Quick Step will be looking to Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel and Belgian ace sprinter Tom Boonen to deliver them stage wins in this year’s Tour de France, which runs from July 2-24. Chavanel won two stages in last year’s edition and also wore the overall leader’s yellow jersey.
“Oppportunities will be there for the riders who like to attack such as Chavanel, Jerome Pineau, Dries Devenyns and Niki Terpstra,” said the team’s sports director Wilfried Peeters. “Several of the finishes are ideal for our riders.”
Boonen was absent from last year’s renewal, but the 30-year-old points winner in the 2007 Tour will be keen to add to his six stage career wins in the world’s most famous cycling race. Also returning to the fray is another Belgian sprinter Gert Steegmans, who has not competed in the race since winning the historic last stage up the Champs Elysee in 2008.
Quick Step Team for the Tour de France
Tom Boonen (BEL), Sylvain Chavanel (FRA), Gerald Ciolek (GER), Kevin De Weert (BEL), Dries Devenyns (BEL), Addy Engels (NED), Jerome Pineau (FRA), Gert Steegmans (BEL), Niki Terpstra (NED).
Spain’s 2008 road race Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez will attempt to improve on last year’s fourth placing in the Tour de France when he leads the Euskatel team in this year’s renewal, which runs from July 2-24. The 33-year-old has never won a major Tour – though he has won five stages on the Tour of Spain – but the team’s director Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano says the very least they would like is a podium finish from the veteran.
“We are dreaming of a podium finish, last year we got really close with Samuel,” said the 37-year-old, who himself wore the overall leader’s yellow jersey for seven days on the 2002 Tour eventually finishing fifth overall. “It is magnificent that he will be with us once again.”
Sanchez will be accompanied by eight fellow Spaniards, including two making their debut in the world’s most famous and prestigious cycling race, 31-year-old Pablo Urtasun and 23-year-old Gorka Izagirre.
Euskatel Team for the Tour de France
Samuel Sanchez (ESP), Egoi Martinez (ESP), Gorka Verdugo (ESP), Amets Txurruka (ESP), Ruben Perez (ESP), Ivan Velasco (ESP), Alan Perez (ESP), Pablo Urtasun (ESP), Gorka Izagirre (ESP).
Cycling powerhouse Rabobank’s Tour de France challenge will be spearheaded by last year’s sixth placed finisher Robert Gesink for the world’s most famous cycling race which runs from July 2-24. The 24-year-old Dutchman will be ably aided by highly-rated compatriot Bauke Mollema, who warmed up for his maiden appearance in the Tour with a respectable fifth placed finish in the recently-concluded Tour of Switzerland.
Gesink, though, will hope that 24-year-old Mollema, who was 12th in last year’s Tour of Italy, focuses solely on the team’s chances and not gaining revenge for what he considered bad sportsmanship by the elite Leopard team on the penultimate stage of the Swiss race. Mollema believed that Leopard had unfairly taken advantage of his having punctured during the stage and ruining his chances of taking the title – he slipped from second overall to fifth.
Rabobank Team for the Tour de France
Carlos Barredo (ESP), Lars Boom (NED), Laurens ten Dam (NED), Juan Manuel Garate (ESP), Robert Gesink (NED), Bauke Mollema (NED), Grisha Niermann (GER), Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP), Maarten Tjallingii (NED).