Tinkoff-Saxo unveil Alberto Contador’s supporting cast for Tour de France

Strong line-up set to back El Pistolero despite Roman Kreuziger's absence

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) will enjoy a strong, all-round supporting cast at the Tour de France as he bids to challenge Chris Froome (Team Sky) for the yellow jersey.

Though missing his super-domestique Roman Kreuziger, who is not racing while the UCI investigates alleged biological passport discrepancies, Tinkoff-Saxo have still unveiled a fiercely-strong nine-man squad.

Alberto Contador, pictured at Tirreno-Adriatico, has been no stranger to the podium this season pic: ©Sirotti

Irishman Nico Roche, experienced Australian Michael Rogers and Poland’s Rafal Majka, all of whom competed at the Giro d’Italia, are among the riders due for the Leeds start line on Saturday July 5.

Rogers, a double stage winner at the Giro, has been on top form since his provisional suspension for a failed doping test was over-turned.

Alongside the two Giro stage wins, he also finished third at the Route du Sud – which Roche won overall – and the two will now reprise the roles they performed at last year’s Tour de France.

Trusted domestiques Jesus Hernandez, Sergio Paulinho and Matteo Tosatto also return from last year’s team, as does the sprinter, Daniele Bennati.

Danish rider Michael Morkov completes this year’s line-up and team manager Bjarne Riis admitted it was tough picking the final nine-man squad.

“It has been very difficult to select this year’s line-up,” he said. “This year, we’ve had a very strong group of candidates, who have all been showing impressive spirit.

“We have selected a team of high quality both in relations to individual strength and their compatibility to support each other and ride as a team towards the main goal of winning the Tour with Alberto.

“It’s a tough Tour this year with almost no flat stages after the first week. When we reach the Vosges, we’ll already be facing serious climbs.

“So we’ve chosen riders that are capable of protecting Alberto on all kind of stages and supporting him to the fullest in the mountains.”

Michael Rogers has been in great form since his return to the peloton (pic: Sirotti)

Contador rides on the back of finishing second at the Criterium du Dauphine, with the Spaniard currently topping the UCI World Rankings after a scintillating season.

Victories at Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour of the Basque Country, alongside further runners-up spots at the Volta ao Algarve and Volta a Catalunya, have marked him as a leading contender for the Tour.

Riis added: “I have complete confidence in our team, their readiness and their commitment to take up the fight in this year’s Tour. We all focus on standing on the podium in France putting on the yellow jersey.”

Discuss in the forum

Tinkoff-Saxo team for the 2014 Tour de France

Alberto Contador (ESP)
Michael Rogers (AUS)
Nicolas Roche (IRL)
Rafal Majka (POL)
Daniele Bennati (ITA)
Jesus Hernandez (ESP)
Sergio Paulinho (POR)
Michael Morkov (DEN)
Matteo Tosatto (ITA)

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