Italian Riccardo Riccò has been named in Saunier Duval's nine-man Tour de France team for the 5-27 July race as a replacement for Spaniard Jose Angel Gomez Marchante.
The 24-year-old Riccò, seen by many in Italy as the heir to deceased Giro and Tour winner Marco Pantani, will participate in his second Tour de France and is most likely to be aiming for stage wins in the mountains.
Although recently confirming his class as a general classification rider with a second place in the Giro d'Italia to Alberto Contador of Spain, Riccò would be considered a big outside bet for the Tour's yellow jersey. On his race debut in 2006, working for Italian climber Gilberto Simoni, Riccò finished in 98th position overall.
This year Riccò, considered one of the most exciting, outspoken and reportedly disliked riders in the peloton, will have the ever-useful climber Leonardo Piepoli as a key helper in the mountains.
Marchante, according to Saunier Duval, had to pull out of the Tour because of concerns over his health.
Juan Jose Cobo (Spa), Jesus Del Nero (Spa), Alberto Fernandez De La Puebla (Spa), David De La Fuente (Spa), Angel Litu Gomez (Spa), Josep Jufre (Spa), Leonardo Piepoli (Ita), Riccardo Riccò (Ita).
Note: ninth place to go to either Rubens Bertogliati (Swi), Ruben Lobato (Spa) or Aurélien Passeron (Fra) depending on results from national championships.
Fothen and Schumacher head Gerolsteiner team
German duo Markus Fothen and Stefan Schumacher, together with Austria's Bernhard Kohl, will head up the Gerolsteiner team for this year's Tour de France.
"Fothen and Kohl can challenge for the overall race, while we are looking for stage victories in the last week," said team sporting director Christian Henn.
Robert Förster (Ger), Markus Fothen (Ger), Bernhard Kohl (Aut), Sven Krauss (Ger), Sebastian Lang (Ger), Ronny Scholz (Ger), Stefan Schumacher (Ger), Fabian Wegmann (Ger), Oliver Zaugg (Swi)
Menchov and Freire lead Rabobank squad
Russian Denis Menchov, one of the pre-race favourites, has been named as team leader for the nine-man Rabobank squad for the Tour, the Dutch team announced Tuesday.
Menchov, a double winner of the Tour of Spain who finished fifth in the 2006 Tour de France, will be able to count on team-mate Oscar Freire, the Spaniard who is a triple world road race champion (1999, 2001 and 2004).
Freire won the Gent-Wevelgem ProTour one-day classic in April and is considered a likely stage winner during the gruelling event. Dutch rider Thomas Dekker failed to make the line-up due to poor form.
Laurens ten Dam (Ned), Pieter Weening (Ned), Sebastian Langeveld (Ned), Koos Moerenhout (Ned), Bram Tankink (Ned), Joost Posthuma (Ned), Denis Menchov (Rus), Oscar Freire (Esp), Juan Antonio Flecha (Esp).
Millar, Vande Velde lead Team Garmin-Chipotle
Team Garmin-Chipotle also announced its Tour roster, which features three of only four Americans in the entire Tour peloton.
“Bringing a team to the Tour de France has always been our vision,” said Jonathan Vaughters, CEO of Slipstream Sports LLC and director sportif. “The riders on and off this list have worked incredibly hard for this. As a team, we are dedicated to giving our fans – and the world – something to cheer for at the Tour.”
The newly-named Team Garmin-Chipotle tour squad will unveil the team kit and other visuals at 1pm July 3 in the press room at Penfeld Parc des Expositions de Brest, in Brest, France.
Magnus Backstedt (Swe), Julian Dean (NZ), Will Frischkorn (USA), Ryder Hesjedal (Can), Trent Lowe (Aus), Martijn Maaskant (Ned), David Millar (UK), Danny Pate (USA), Christian Vande Velde (USA).
© AFP 2008