Saxo Bank announces 2009 Tour de France team
Team Saxo Bank has announced its line-up for the 2009 Tour de France, which starts on Saturday July 4.
There are no big surprises in the super-strong line-up, with both the Schleck brothers - Andy and Frank - and time trial monster Fabian Cancellara in the squad. Tour stalwarts Stuart O'Grady and Jens Voigt are also on the team.
Andy Schleck and Frank Schleck are the squad's overall hopefuls for the Tour. Frank finished sixth in last year's Tour and had a spell in the yellow jersey (pictured), but it is younger brother Andy that many tip for big Grand Tour success. Andy won the best young rider jersey in 2008, and already has a win in Liege-Bastogne-Liege under his belt this year. Not to be out-done, Frank won the 2009 Tour of Luxembourg.
After winning the Tour of Switzerland last week with a blistering performance in the final time trial, Fabian Cancellara must be the outright favourite for the opening Tour time trial in Monaco. The Swiss rider had a rocky start to the season, plagued by illness and injury but he now looks to be back at his best.
"With Fabian in peak shape it is clear that we have a perfect chance of taking the yellow jersey from the start and there is absolutely no doubt that this is what we are here for," Saxo Bank team owner Bjarne Riis said.
Riis also confirmed that the squad are aiming for victory in the stage four team time trial: "We have a powerful team for the team time trial and it should form the foundation for our efforts in the overall standings."
The vastly experienced Voigt and O'Grady both have several Tour de France stage wins to their name, and cannot be discounted for a stage victory if they get into a break that sticks.
Saxo Bank 2009 Tour de France team
Andy Schleck (Lux)
Frank Schleck (Lux)
Fabian Cancellara (Swi)
Stuart O'Grady (Aus)
Jens Voigt (Ger)
Nicki Sørensen (Den)
Chris Anker Sørensen (Den)
Gustav Larsson (Swe)
Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor)
Cycling Weekly's 2009 Tour de France section