Team High Road Sports named their team for the July 5-27 Tour de France Wednesday, with Luxembourger Kim Kirchen the rider who will be pushed for the winner's yellow jersey.
The nine-man roster, which includes sprinters Mark Cavendish of Britain and German Gerald Ciolek, contains riders from eight different countries, and five aged 25 and under.
"We plan to be competitive in every stage without losing the focus on the support for Kirchen in the general classification" said team director Rolf Aldag. "This team is able to exploit and dictate the tactics on some stages."
Support for Kirchen in the mountains will come from American road captain and tactical leader George Hincapie - a veteran of 12 Tours, Belarussian Kanstantsin Sivtsov and Swede Thomas Lovkvist, who finished fifth overall in the Tour of Switzerland last week.
"The team has been on a big wave of success this year," said team owner Bob Stapleton. "We bring confidence, team work and good spirit into the Tour. "It was difficult to select the Tour de France team because so many of riders deserved a spot."
The High Road team will change their name to Team Columbia at the start of the Tour after sealing a new sponsorship deal with the Portland, Oregon-based brand of outdoor apparel and footwear.
Kim Kirchen (Lux), George Hincapie (USA), Thomas Lovkvist (Swe), Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Blr), Mark Cavendish (GBr), Gerald Ciolek (Ger), Adam Hansen (Aus), Marcus Burghardt (Ger), Bernhard Eisel (Aut)
© BikeRadar & AFP 2008