Tour de France news: Saxo Bank, RadioShack, Euskaltel, drug testing

Riis names Saxo Bank's Tour de France team

Saxo Bank team owner Bjarne Riis named his nine-man team for the Tour de France this week, with last year's runner-up Andy Schleck once again spearheading their yellow jersey bid.

Schleck finished over four minutes behind Alberto Contador of Spain in 2009. However the Luxemburger will once again have the support of a team that will be dedicated to his cause.

Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara is one of the favourites for the opening prologue in Rotterdam, held over 8.9km this year, while Schleck will be hoping to count on the support of Chris Anker Sorensen and brother Frank in the mountains.

Riis said that it was a difficult decision leaving many of his team out. Swedish ace Gustav Larsson is the 10th man and on standby in the event any team members suffer illness or injury prior to the July 3-25 race.

"It has been a problem of pure luxury, but it's not easy telling a rider to stay home when you know he would have done a great job in the race," said Riis.

"However, we are now looking forward to a Tour de France with Team Saxo Bank in front of the race."

Saxo Bank team at Tour de France:

Fabian Cancellara (SUI), Andy Schleck (LUX), Frank Schleck (LUX), Jens Voigt (GER), Stuart O'Grady (AUS), Matti Breschel (DEN), Chris Anker Sorensen (DEN), Jakob Fuglsang (DEN), Nicki Sorensen (DEN)

Replacements: Gustav Larsson (SWE)

Brajkovic gets nod to help Armstrong's Tour bid

Slovenian Janez Brajkovic was rewarded for his victory in the Dauphine Criterium stage race by being named in Lance Armstrong's RadioShack team for the Tour de France, last tuesday.

Also selected to help Armstrong in his quest for an eighth yellow jersey on July 3-25 were Americans Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner, German Andreas Kloden, Portuguese Sergio Paulinho, Ukrainian Yaroslav Popovych, Swiss Gregory Rast and Kazakh Dmitry Muravyev.

Brajkovic, 26, impressed in the one-week stage race earlier this month when he won a 49km time trial to take command of the event, and countered a number of attacks by Tour de France champion Alberto Contador over four days in the mountains.

While it will be his first Tour, Armstrong can also count on experienced helpers in the shape of Kloden and Leipheimer, both of whom have vast major Tour experience and have each finished on the podium of the race.

Kloden finished runner-up in both 2004 and 2006, while Leipheimer was a third place finisher in 2007 when his then teammate, Contador, won the first of his two yellow jerseys.

Armstrong finished third overall last year behind Astana team leader Contador, who is once again the overall victory favourite.

RadioShack team at Tour de France:

Lance Armstrong (USA), Levi Leipheimer (USA), Andreas Kloden (GER), Chris Horner (USA), Janez Brajkovic (SLO), Sergio Paulinho (POR), Yaroslav Popovych (UKR), Gregory Rast (SUI), Dmitry Muravyev (KAZ)

Sanchez leads Euskaltel in Tour de France

Olympic road race champion Samuel Sanchez of Spain will lead the Basque team Euskaltel's efforts at this year's Tour de France.

The 32-year-old from Oviedo heads the team that is hoping to match last year's success on stage 16, and pick up at least one stage win during the race.

Inaki Isasi and Ivan Vedasco both come into the all-Spanish team.

Euskaltel team at Tour de France:

Inaki Isasi (ESP), Juanjo Oroz (ESP), Alan Perez (ESP), Ruben Perez (ESP), Samuel Sanchez (ESP), Egoi Martinez (ESP), Amets Txurruka (ESP), Ivan Velasco (ESP), Gorka Verdugo (ESP)

WADA to watch Tour de France drug testing

The World Anti-Doping Agency says it plans to monitor doping controls at next month's Tour de France. The International Cycling Union signed the deal with WADA on tuesday.

A WADA official will be able to observe all phases of the UCI's anti-doping controls, from the selection of riders to be tested to the handling of urine results. They will also have access to all related documents.

Cycling's governing body requested the observers in October, hoping to increase the transparency of its drug testing.

© AFP 2010

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