Thursday, 23 June 2011

#TDF The Teams 2 - Saxo Bank- Sunguard

The team that will wear the single numbers on their backs because they are the team of the champion are Saxobank-Sunguard. The former team of the Schleck brothers will now be header by Alberto Contador, who after a year of legal proceedings will be taking to the start line at Passage du Gois. Here is a look at the time.

001 Alberto Contador (Spa) 28 The Spaniard has won all three Grand Tours, France 3 times 2007, 2009, 2010, Italy 2008 and 2011 and Spain 2008. However, it is that latest Grand Tour victory in a very tough Giro this year that may affect his chances of three-peating. With his ability to start his defence hanging in the balance until earlier this month he said he was going to Italy and to win, which he did. All his major challengers rested in May when the Giro was on, and will come to the Tour fresher than the Spaniard. Though he will have something to prove when he takes to the roads of France, that he is the best. Never underestimate him. 5th Tour Start: Best 1st x3 (2007, 09, 10) Best Young Rider 2007

002 Jesús Hernández (Spa) 29  Jesús will give his all in the mountains for his long team mate Contador. He has often been seen riding with Alberto in the high peaks but has never really risen to individual glory himself. 2nd TS: Best 140th (2010)

003 Daniel Navarro (Spa) 27 Another tough Spaniard who has joined from Astana along with Contador. He'll also be there on the high mountains with his team leader. He took individual honours on Stage 5 of the Critérium du Dauphiné this year. 3rd TS: Best 49th (2010)

004 Benjamín Noval (Spa) 32 The fourth and final Spaniard on this team, who also came from Astana at the start of the year. Both his previous stage wins in the Tour have come in the Team Time Trial (2004 and 2005) as part of Lance Armstrong's US Postal squad.  He has been a loyal Domestique to 5 Tour winners (Lance Armstrong twice and Contador's three wins). 6th TS: Best 66th (2004)

005 Richie Porte (Aus) 26 The young Tasmanian was 7th Overall in the 2010 Giro d'Italia, wore the Pink Jersey from stages 11-13 and ended up as the winner of the best young rider competition. Although he will probably always rank winning the 2008 Tour of Tasmania as his greatest ever victory even when he wins a Grand Tour.  In 2009 riding the Baby Giro he won 5 stages including a Time Trail. He may be someone to watch in the future but may be close to the top ten in the GC this year as well. Debut Tour

006 Chris Anker Sørensen (Den) 26 The Dane is another good rider in the mountains. Indeed his stage win in the 2010 Giro Stage 8 to Mount Terminillo he broke away on the final climb to the summit. He won the Mountain competition in this years Tour de Romandie and came 6th in Liège–Bastogne–Liège. He lives in Luxembourg and therefore as the Danish Federation do not give licences to cyclists living overseas he races under a Luxembourg licence. 10th TS: Best 34th 2009

007 Nicki Sørensen (Den) 36 Not related to his namesake on the team. He has been Danish Road Race Champion three times and proudly worn the Red and White national jersey in three Tours. In 2009 he won stage 12 from Tonnerre to Vetel when the peleton allowed a group of six to stay away, with 20km to go Sørensenattacked and stayed away: he was also awarded most combative rider on that stage. He's also won an individual stage in the 2005 Vuelta a España. But is most commonly seen helping his team leader. 9th TS: Best 20th 2002

008 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) 37 With 13 years of Pro Cycling  behind him, his knowledge on the route will be invaluable to Contador and the team. Another work horse rather than big name rider, he has though won stage 18 on the 2006 Tour from Morzine - Mâcon, though that was teh day after the last mountains and before the last time trial. He also has won a stage in the 2001 Giro. 8th TS: Best 116th (2009)

009 Brian Vandborg (Den) 29 The time trialling specialist on the team. In 2006 he won the Danish National Time Trialist title and came 4th in the World Championships. He's also been 2nd in his national time trial championships 3 times and 3rd once. He could be a lead out man in a finish if required, or if he gets in a break away could make a break from far out. With the individual time trial being the penultimate day over 42.5km it may be a matter of who is left with gas in the tank. Maybe expect him to try and get into a breakaway in the first week. Or as we move from the Pyrénées to the Alps to try and make a long break if he is allowed to. 3rd TS: Best 116th (2009)

Of course when you have one of only 5 men to have won all three of the Grand Tours Saxo Bank-Sunguard's main aim is to insure that a 4th Tour de France and 7th Grand Tour comes the way of El Pistolero.

Update Nicki Sørensen will start in the Danish national colours having won that title once again the weekend before the Tour.

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