Tuesday 26 June 2012

Tour de France 2012: The Teams - Sky Pro Cycling

It is that time of year once again that the 21 teams in the Tour de France will be naming their nine man squads for the Tour de France which starts on Saturday.

So lets start with the team that will be hoping to see the world champions rainbow jersey replaced by the maillot vert (green jersey) as well as hoping to see the maillot jaune (yellow jersey) in their midst on the Champs-Élysées. But there is an home Olympics ahead for the British Team's big stars and one Geraint Thomas will be doing laps of a velodrome instead of the roads of France to prepare to defend his Olympic title.

Bradley Wiggins already this year he has won Paris-Nice, the Tour de Romandie as well as defending the Critérium du Dauphiné. He is in form over these week long Tours and Sky seem to have the team to help Brad both on the flat and in the Mountains. After crashing out last year he came third in the Vuelta a España his first Grand Tour podium. He is seriously being talked of as a contender again this year to go further than his 4th place finish in 2009.

Mark Cavendish will start the Tour wearing the World Champion's rainbow jersey. He moved to Sky at the start of the year after his former dominant team HTC-Columbia ceased to exist. He finally took the Green Jersey in last year's tour after 5 more stage wins and an unprecedented third win on the trot on the Champs-Élysées. With the Olympic Road Race coming only 6 days after Paris a target it is yet to be seen how much Cav puts into this year's Tour.

Edvald Boasson Hagen last year he was often contending with Cav for the sprints he actually took two stages last year. But this year his role has been to replace Mark Renshaw as the man who launches the Manx Missile to the line. In some of the tougher finishes he may be Sky's go to man if Cavendish is not going for line honours simply to stop people like Philippe Gilbert gaining points over Cav, but he will be at the front with about 600m to go ready to take the World Champion into his final sprints.

Bernhard Eisel has moved with Cavendish from HTC last year. Bernie will be ever present with Cav helping him through the mountains but also staying beside him in the peleton as the race trundles along before being a key component of the lead out train.

Chris Froome the Kenyan born Brit was actually ahead of Brad in last year's Vuelta a España coming in second. But as he proved there he is an able lieutenant in the Mountains as he was in the Tour de Romandie. Last year he was also one of the engines in the train that Great Britain used to control the peleton in the World Championships to deliver the rainbow jersey for Cav.

Richie Porte from Australia has a palmarès to his name this year winning the Volto ao Algarve but like Froome he is there to help Bradley control events in the mountains. He was best young rider in the 2010 Giro d'Italia.

Michael Rogers has been world Time Trial champion three times in 2003, 2004 and 2005. But he has also long been a mountain support in 2003 he helped Richard Virenque to his six polka dot jersey. He had periods leading T-Mobile and HTC coming as high as 9th in the Tour in 2006. But his role like Froome and Porte is to get Wiggins through the mountains.

Christian Knees was the 2010 German Road Race Champion but his role in the tour is a domestique and wingman on the flat stages.

Kanstantsin Siutsou has been Belarus road and time trial champion. He finished 10th in last years Giro with Team Highroad but is another engine for the flat stages of the Tour.

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