Tinkoff-Saxo Team Reveals Roster for Vuelta a Espana
This year’s Vuelta a Espana exposes teams and riders to a demanding route that, however, includes less climbing than last year's very intensive Vuelta, which was won by RadioShack-Nissan's American Christopher Horner, who is now riding for Lampre-Merida.
According to sources outside and within the team, Tinkoff-Saxo leader Alberto Contador has worked meticulously to get ready for the Vuelta a Espana following his crash and injury in this year's Tour de France. Contador will be hoping for a slow start to the race that will allow him to gain as many racing kilometers in his legs as possible before the general classification competition between the riders starts to intensify.
"With Alberto (Contador) we have the chance to compete on a high level in the high mountain stage finishes and on the medium mountain stages. Alberto crashed and fractured his leg during the Tour de France and I’m not sure of it’s plausible to aim for the overall win after only a few weeks of hard training in the mountains, but we’ll flash the jersey in the race and you will notice us," Team Tinkoff-Saxo sports director Philippe Mauduit explained.
With a total of forty climbs scattered on thirteen mountain stages, five flat stages, one team time trial and two individual time trials, any team hoping to bring one of its riders to the general classification win will need to bring a team that is constructed from a list of riders who are strong and experienced in a multitude of terrain types.
Tinkoff-Saxo has selected seven riders who have been given the specific task of supporting team leader Contador in each and every situation that will arise during this year's Vuelta. These riders are Chris Anker Sørensen, Matteo Tosatto, Sergio Paulinho, Oliver Zaugg, Ivan Rovny, Jesus Hernandez and Danish national champion Michael Valgren.
In addition, Tinkoff-Saxo is sending its sprinter Daniele Bennati who will have the chance to Prove his worth in the Tour of Spain's five sprinter stages - before next year's arrival of sprinter ace Peter Sagan to the Russian WorldTour team. Bennati will also be called upon when racing experience is required or Contador needs additional protection at the front of the peloton.
Tinkoff-Saxo's Vuelta roster includes neither Tour de France mountains classification winner Rafal Majka nor Michael Rogers and is thus significantly reduced in quality. It is an unusual situation for the team to arrive at a Grand Tour without a general classification favorite, though the team does have some previous experience with this due to various doping-related inquiries.
"It’s going to be a special race for us. Just like the last part of the Tour de France, we’ll take one stage at a time. Our line-up offers a number of opportunities. In the more flat terrain we have a series of riders who will be able to nail the stage win that we are targeting in this year’s edition of the Vuelta," Mauduit explained.
Team Tinkoff-Saxo Line-Up for La Vuelta a Espana 2014:
Alberto Contador, Chris Anker Sørensen, Daniele Bennati, Matteo Tosatto, Sergio Paulinho, Oliver Zaugg, Ivan Rovny, Jesus Hernandez, and Michael Valgren.