Peter Sagan will be led-out by Italian sprinting ace Elia Viviani at the Tour de France, after Cannondale finalised their nine-man squad.
Viviani, who led the team’s sprinting charge, without success, at the Giro d’Italia and finished fourth in the points classification, is one of the eight men selected to support Sagan’s bid for a third consecutive green jersey.
Re-crowned Slovakian national champion at the weekend, Sagan – who has already topped the points classification at the Tour de Suisse, Tour of California and Tirreno-Adriatico this season – starts as favourite for the maillot vert.
And the Green Machine have built a strong squad around him as they look to control the bunch on the flat and medium stages as the Slovak sensation looks to add to this season’s seven race wins.
Maciej Bodnar, Kristijan Koren, Ted King and Fabio Sabatini, all of whom started last year’s Tour, will join Jean-Marc Marino in supporting Sagan on the flat stages, before Viviani takes over in the bunch sprints.
It allows King a second shot at the Tour, after he was forced to leave last year’s race when – hampered by an injury picked up in the carnage of stage one – he missed the time cut on the team time trial.
Alessandro de Marchi, the King of the Mountains winner at the Criterium du Dauphine, and his Italian compatriot Marco Marcato complete the 2014 line-up, with them set to play an important role on the undulating stages.
De Marchi was another key member of last year’s team, playing an important role on the front of the bunch to set up Sagan’s stage seven win in Albi.
And Cannondale will hope to repeat their success of 2013 once the race rolls out of Leeds on Saturday (July 5).
Global general manager Bob Burbank said: “We approach this race as an opportunity to let our team show its strength and all the excitement it brings to cycling.
“Last year, the guys showcased incredible teamwork at every stage, especially during the stage seven win with the amazing Montpellier 100k lead out.
“This Cannondale team has an infectious personality bringing flair back to the peloton and this year will be no exception. Peter and his mates go for an unprecedented third green jersey aboard the best bikes in the world including the SuperSix EVO and Slice RS.”
Cannondale team for the 2014 Tour de France
Peter Sagan (SVK)
Maciej Bodnar (POL)
Kristijan Koren (SVN)
Ted King (USA)
Fabio Sabatini (ITA)
Jean-Marc Marino (FRA)
Marco Marcato (ITA)
Alessandro de Marchi (ITA)
Elia Viviani (ITA)