Posted by: mdegeorge | July 2, 2011

Tour de France Preview: Part 3

The calendar has turned to July, which means barbeques, Wimbledon and the Tour de France.

It’s the latter that concerns me today, as 198 riders saddle up and take on perhaps the greatest challenge in sports: a three-week, nearly 3500-kilometer test of the human body and spirit. It’s the kind of multi-faceted, drama-wrought, ever-changing spectacle that fans and analysts live for, and it lasts for almost a month.

So without further ado, here are the full start lists for all 22 teams involved, including past data on the riders and a breakdown of what might be ahead for them.

We finish with the remaining eight teams in the start list:

Alessandro Petacchi. Courtesy of Creative Commons.

Lampre-ISD

Leonardo Bertagnolli, Grega Bole, Matteo Bono, Damiano Cunego, Danilo Hondo, Denis Kostyuk, David Loosli, Adriano Malori, Alessandro Petacchi

Tour de France stage wins: Petacchi 6

Other Grand Tour stage wins: Petacchi 42, Cunego 6, Bertagnolli 2, Hondo 2

Grand Tour GC Top 10s: Cunego 3 (Won 2004 Giro, 4th in 2006 Giro, 5th in 2007 Giro)

Days in Maillot Jaune: None

Once again, Cunego will give it a go in the Tour, which just doesn’t ever seem to be his race. He’s tremendous in the mountains in Italy but seems to falter at crucial early junctures once he hits the French line. He rested the Giro this year for only the second time since 2003, turning his preparations squarely toward the Tour, which may help him get off on the right foot. His mental state may be somewhat dodgy though after seeing the overall in the Tour de Suisse literally tick away from on the final time trial by a mere four seconds. Even if he isn’t a GC factor though, he should still be a player in the big mountain passes, this time for stage wins. Petacchi is the other big gun in the blue-and-pink arsenal who could be a major contender in sprints. The other interesting rider is Bole, who is coming off a win in the Slovenian national championships and scored an impressive win last season at the Dauphine Libere.

Liquigas-Cannondale

Ivan Basso, Daniel Oss, Alessandro Vanotti, Paolo Longo Borghini,Fabio Sabatini, Sylwester Szmyd, Maciej Bodnar, Maciej Paterski, Kristijan Koren

Tour de France stage wins: Basso

Other Grand Tour stage wins: Basso 8, Szmyd

Grand Tour GC Top 10s: Basso 7 (Won 2006 Giro, Won 2010 Giro, 4th in 2009 Giro, 7th in 2003 Tour, 3rd in 2004 Tour, 2nd in 2005 Tour, 4th in 2009 Vuelta)

Days in Maillot Jaune: None

An ill Basso had a poor showing in last year’s Tour, finishing a distant 32nd after winning the Giro two months earlier. This season’s preparation has been geared solely towards the Tour, as he eschewed the race in his home country that he’s won twice for a route to France. He won the GP di Lugano, finished 4th at Tireeno-Adriatico and 7th at Volta a Catalunya. With sprinter Peter Sagan staying home and Vincenzo Nibali gearing up to defend his Vuelta crown after finishing third at the Grio, the team is geared specifically toward helping Basso. He’s surrounded by a lot of youngsters, including five riders 26 or younger. Szmyd, a veteran riding in his 18th Grand Tour that includes seven top 25 finishes and a 3rd place finish up Alpe d’Huez in last year’s stage of the Dauphine Libere, is a trusted lieutenant who should be the last one with Basso when things get dicey in the mountains. Oss is another threat as a big strong kid who can get into breakaways and cause problems for the chase.

Team Europcar

Anthony Charteau, Cyril Gautier, Yohann Gene, Vincent Jerome, Christophe Kern, Perrig Quemeneur, Pierre Rolland, Sebastien Turgot, Thomas Voeckler

Tour de France stage wins: Voeckler 2

Other Grand Tour stage wins: None

Grand Tour GC Top 10s: None

Days in Maillot Jaune: Voeckler 10 (Stage 5-14 in 2004 Tour)

Many of the French teams are built around a strong veteran. Europcar, formerly BBox-Bouygues Telecom, is no different. The man here is Voeckler, whose proved to have a knack for attacking late at just the right time to capture unlikely stage wins. He’s shown that form this season, winning six races, including two stages of Paris-Nice and the overall at the Four Days of Dunkirk. He’ll focus on the GC for as long as he has the legs to hang with the big boys and then look to stage wins. His teammates will provide plenty of company in the breakaway groups. Charteau is the defending King of the Mountains and is no stranger to dissociating himself from the peloton for large stretches. Rolland is a excellent climber as well, having claimed the KOM titles in the Dauphine and Criterium International in seasons past. Europcar also boasts the French National Time Trial champion in Kern.

Team Movistar

David Arroyo, Andrey Amador, Rui Costa, Imanol Erviti, Iván Gutiérrez, Beñat Intxausti, Vasil Kiryienka, Fran Ventoso, José Joaquín Rojas

Tour de France stage wins: None

Other Grand Tour stage wins: Erviti 2, Kiryienka 2, Ventoso 2, Arroyo

Grand Tour GC Top 10s: Arroyo 3 (10th in 2007 Giro, 10th in 2009 Giro, 2nd in 2010 Giro)

Days in Maillot Jaune: None

The new Movistar squad rides this tour with a heavy heart after the death of teammate Xavier Tondo, the Basque rider who was in the midst of a tremendous season with three top-10 overall finishes in the major early season Spanish stage races. His teammates carry on behind Arroyo, who has finished 13th and 21st in the Tour before and finished 2nd in his last Grand Tour, the 2010 Giro. He’s an excellent climber, one of the best descenders in the peloton and is likely to have the legs in some capacity, either the GC or for stage wins, in the Tour’s third week. He’ll be escorted by a typically deep passel of Spanish mountain goats, but Movistar also packs a punch in the sprint. Rojas is a decent sprinter in his own right but will be used largely as a leadout man for Ventoso, who has five wins, including a stage in the Giro, on his CV already this season. Kiryenka is also dangerous – and not just in the time trials – having won stages at the Giro and Tour of the Basque Country as well as finishing second overall at Criterium International already this season.

Katusha

Pavel Brutt, Denis Galimzyanov, Vladimir Gusev, Mikhail Ignatiev, Vladimir Isaichev, Vladimir Karpets, Alexander Kolobnev, Egor Silin, Yuriy Trofimov

Tour de France stage wins: Ivanov 2

Other Grand Tour stage wins: Brutt

Grand Tour GC Top 10s: Karpets 2 (7th in 2005 Giro, 7th in 2007 Vuelta)

Days in Maillot Jaune: None

One of the younger squads in the Tour is also an experiment in Eastern cycling as the squad is entirely composed of Russians, including national champion Brutt. That’s much to the chagrin of other riders like Belgians Leif Hoste and Stijn Vandenberg as well as Italians Luca Paolini and Filippo Pozzato. The other non-Russian headliner that is missing out is Joaquim Rodriguez, who’s an early favorite for the Vuelta after finishing 5th in the Giro this year. Karpets is the one with the most Tour experience from his time riding for Spanish teams and is the GC favorite. Breakaways are going to be a priority for this team, with guys like Brutt, two-time stage winner Ivanov, Kolobnev and Ignatiev all capable of taking stage wins.

Mark Cavendish. Courtesy of Creative Commons.

HTC-Highroad

Bernhard Eisel, Mark Cavendish, Matt Goss, Mark Renshaw, Tony Martin, Peter Velits, Lars Bak, Danny Pate, Tejay Van Garderen

Tour de France stage wins: Cavendish 15

Other Grand Tour stage wins: Cavendish 10, Bak 2, Goss 2, Velits 2, Eisel, Pate, Renshaw, Van Garderen

Grand Tour GC Top 10s: Velits (3rd in 2010 Vuelta)

Days in the Maillot Jaune: None

Despite their low placement in the startlist, HTC is not a team of just sprinters. Yes, it does boast a ridiculous embarrassment of fastman riches that has the winner of the Tour of Oman (Renshaw) and the winner of Milan-San Remo (Goss) designed to be leadout men, plus the wily veteran Eisel to organize it all. That’s because the fastest man on a bike on this green earth, Cavendish, is the undisputed king of the sprints. He’s got five wins already this season, including three stages in the Giro. Sprinting acumen aside, HTC brings some genuine GC threats. Martin’s wins at Paris-Nice and Volta ao Algarve signal to many that he has arrived as a man for the big mountains rather than just a time trialing specialist. An extra time trial would have benefitted him, but he’ll just have to prove it in the mountains. Van Garderen could also turn heads after finishing as the runner up to Martin at Algarve and 5th at ATOC, while Velits rather quietly ascended the podium at last year’s Vuelta and could be a factor.

Saur Sojasun

Jérôme Coppel, Anthony Delaplace, Jimmy Engoulvent, Arnaud Coyot, Jérémy Galland, Jonathan Hivert, Fabrice Jeandesboz, Laurent Mangel, Yannick Talabardon

Tour de France stage wins: None

Other Grand Tour stage wins: None

Grand Tour GC Top 10s: None

Days in Maillot Jaune: None

There’s a lot of hope for the continental wild cards, but not a lot of experience. Some of the more common names, like Ludovic Turpin and Cyril Lemoine, are staying home this year, while sprinter Jimmy Casper, who won a stage of the 2006 Tour while with Cofidis, will also miss out. The squad lacks a household name. Engoulvent has some stage wins to his name. Coyot spent some time in the European peloton with what was then known as the Unibet and Caisse d’Epargne teams. Mangel and Talabardon have a few decent years of racing but few wins to their names. The ones that may be worth watching are Hivert, who has three wins this season including Paris-Troyes and a stage at the Tour of Andalucía, and Coppel, who this season finished 2nd overall in Murcia, 4th in Andalucía and 5th at Vuelta a Castilla y Leon.

Vacansoleil

Romain Feillu, Borut Bozic, Marco Marcato, Thomas De Gendt, Bjorn Leukemans, Johnny Hoogerland, Wout Poels, Lieuwe Westra, Rob Ruijgh

Tour de France stage wins: None

Other Grand Tour stage wins: Bozic

Grand Tour GC Top 10s: None

Days in Maillot Jaune: Feillu (Stage 4 in 2008 Tour)

Another very young wild card entry, Vacansoleil at least has some recognizable names. Feillu, who briefly enjoyed wearing Yellow in 2008, has won seven races this year and will be hunting in the sprints. He’ll be supported by Bozic, who has sprinted to victory in the 2009 Vuelta and this year’s Tour de Suisse, and Marcato. On GC, Hoogerland, who finished 12th in the 2009 Vuelta, and Poels, 3rd at this year’s Tour of the Mediterranean and 4th at Murcia, might be able to surprise some. De Gendt won a stage at this year’s Tour de Suisse, while Leudemans had a few top-10s in some of the spring classics. Both could challenge for stage wins.

 

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