American rider Christian Vande Velde has recovered from injuries suffered in a fall during the Giro d’Italia and will lead the Garmin-Slipstream team in the Tour de France, the team said on Wednesday.
The 33-year-old, who ended last year’s Tour in fifth place but was promoted to fourth on the disqualification of Bernhard Kohl for failing a doping test, is one of four American riders in the team.
It also includes the British pair – Olympic pursuit three-times gold medallist Bradley Wiggins and David Millar – for the Tour which starts on July 4 in Monaco.
“We’re bringing a diverse and versatile squad to the 2009 Tour de France,” said Jonathan Vaughters, Garmin’s director sportif. “We had an incredible first Tour as a team last year and this year we hope for (general classification) contention, possible stage wins and even the yellow jersey at some point.”
Another of the US racers is time-trial specialist and 2005 yellow jersey wearer David Zabriskie.
Garmin have also included two up-and-coming riders – American sprinter Tyler Farrar and Irish specialist climber Dan Martin.
Garmin Tour de France roster:
Julian Dean (NZL), Tyler Farrar (USA), Ryder Hesjedal (CAN), Dan Martin (IRL), David Millar (GBR), Danny Pate (USA), Christian Vande Velde (USA), Bradley Wiggins (GBR), David Zabriskie (USA).
Caisse d’Epargne narrows Tour team to 10
The Caisse d’Epargne cycling team on Wednesday named 10 cyclists from which they must select nine for the Tour de France.
Six of them, the Spaniards David Arroyo, Ivan Gutierrez, Luis Pasamontes, Luis Leon Sanchez, Xabier Zandio and 2006 champion Oscar Pereiro – awarded victory after American Floyd Landis was disqualified for failing a drugs test – are assured of their places on the start line in Monaco.
The three final places are being contested by Portugal’s Rui Costa, Frenchman Arnaud Coyot, Spain’s Jose Joaquin Rojas and the Colombian Rigoberto Uran.
The final squad for the Tour de France will be named after the various national championships taking place on Sunday.
Spain’s Alejandro Valverde is banned from racing in Italy, which boasts a stage in this year’s Tour on July 21, and has not been selected.
© 2009 AFP & BikeRadar