A 2012 Tour de France Team Summary - Part 2
Twenty-two teams are contesting the 2012 Tour de France and I break down their chances. Part 2.
(Click here for part 1 of our Tour de France team roster summary)
We are in the final stretch before the 2012 Tour de France, and with each passing day teams are releasing the names of the riders on their squads for this year's Tour. Some teams are focused on the overall classification, others on stages or opportunistic moments. I thought we'd take a look and see what each team's goals are and who they brought to support that aspiration.
The marquee rider on this squad is big man Andre Greipel. Although he's realistic about his chances at winning the Green Jersey and tips Sagan for that honor, he'll battle with Cav for stage wins the first week. Apparently Lotto has a bit of a lead-out train for him, so that will spice up those closing kilometers. On a personal note I love the fact that Greg Henderson made the cut and is on the squad. He's a strong lead out rider and that will pay off with at least a couple of stage wins for Greipel.
Their go to guy in July is Alejandro Valverde.
In a Google-translated press release team director Eusebio Unzue said, "Last year we went for stage victories, but this season, having Alejandro must make us more ambitious."
Unzue claims they're "convinced he can fight for a podium place."
Well sure, you have to say that if you're in charge of the team, but respectfully he'll be a constant top finisher in the mountain stages and that's it.
Team Omega Pharma-QuickStep
Levi Leipheimer is on a squad that has allowed him to shine. He had a great early season, but then he was hit by a car in Spain, which put a damper on his Amgen Tour of California chances. Regardless, when many pundits thought he might drop out after a couple of days, he finished. I spoke to Leipheimer after California and he said a top five was still possible in the Tour de France. And you know what - I believe him.
Leipheimer seems really motivated this year. He's been climbing with the best and the guy can time trial. The only question mark is has the strength returned after the accident?
If Leipheimer can't do it, Peter Velits is the guy the team likes to talk about for the future. However, the future may already be here for Velits and he may be called upon if Levi falters.
Any chance of success for Team GreenEdge is on the shoulders of sprinter Matt Goss. Team director Matt White has admitted as much.
"We've said from the start that the overall is not a goal."
That's the smart strategy. Grab stage wins and plan for the future as there's probably another Evans somewhere in Australia inspired by the country's success.
Robert Gesink showed that he can climb on the steep slopes of Mt Baldy in the recent Tour of California. Also recently he showed that he has made improvements in the race against the clock. However, he's racing with