Joaquim Rodriguez to enjoy Tour de France free rein as Katusha reveal line-up

Alexander Kristoff leads sprint charge; Yuri Trofimov targets top ten

Last year’s world number one Joaquim Rodriguez will enjoy free rein at the Tour de France after Katusha unveiled a balanced line-up for the race.

Rodriguez, third last year, was originally due to miss the race as he focussed on the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana.

Joaquim Rodriguez will target stage wins at the Tour de France, with Katusha affording him a free rein(pic: Katusha/Tim de Waele)

However, after crashing out of the former in the first week, Purito will now join the hunt for stage wins in a strong nine-man squad.

Milan-San Remo winner Alexander Kristoff will lead the team’s charge for sprint success, while Criterium du Dauphine stage winner Yuri Trofimov is bidding for a top-ten placing overall.

In-form Simon Spilak, a stage winner at the Tour de Romandie and Criterium du Dauphine, is also included with team manager Viacheslav Ekimov hoping for better luck than they received at the Giro d’Italia.

“Team Katusha brings to the Tour de France a balanced roster, where a part of the team will be aiming for mountain stages and another part will aim for the sprinters’ stages,” he explained.

“We hope “Purito” will be able to find good form, which will allow him to fight for a stage win. And, of course, other riders of the team will hunt for stage wins, too.

“I think Katusha is ready for a new three-week adventure and the only thing I would like to wish for our team is just some good luck, the only component we really missed at the Giro d’Italia.”

Luca Paolini, one of six Katusha riders to finish the Giro after the Russian team suffered a crash-laden race, is also included in the team.

Simon Spilak has been in good form so far this season, earning stage wins in Romandie and at the Dauphine (pic: ©Sirotti)

Egor Silin, Aleksandr Porsev, Gatis Smukulis and Vladimir Isaychev complete the line-up, who will take their place on the Leeds start line on Saturday July 5.

Team Katusha squad for the 2014 Tour de France

Yuri Trofimov (RUS)
Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP)
Simon Spilak (SVN)
Egor Silin (RUS)
Alexander Kristoff (NOR)
Alexander Porsev (RUS)
Luca Paolini (ITA)
Gatis Smukulis (LTU)
Vladimir Isaychev (RUS)

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