• Alberto Contador will have to dig deep to win the 2015 Tour de France (AAP)Source: AAP
A stellar Tinkoff-Saxo cast of workers will support Alberto Contador in his quest to be a rare winner of the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France in a single season.
By
Cycling Central

30 Jun 2015 - 10:27 AM 

Joining Contador will be Australian Michael Rogers, Peter Sagan, Rafal Majka, Roman Kreuziger, Ivan Basso, Daniele Bennati, Michael Valgren and Matteo Tosatto for the 4 July start in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

“It’s pretty obvious that our chief goal is to win the Tour with Alberto," sporting director Steven de Jongh said. "We have our full attention on pulling on the yellow jersey in Paris and we are well aware of the fact that it will be a formidable challenge against many strong rivals.

"Additionally we will support Peter Sagan to win stages, whenever it’s possible and that depends on the situation on each stage."

"Alberto is our captain and Rafal Majka will be his key support in the high mountains, while Kreuziger, Rogers and Basso will offer experience and strong backing in the medium mountains. Then we have a lot of horsepower in Bennati, Tosatto and Valgren for the flatter stages and they will also be able to help Peter in the search for stage wins”.

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Despite ongoing battles with team owner Oleg Tinkov over performance outcomes, Sagan, green jersey winner of the last three Tour editions, said he is ready for the Tour after a build-up that ended with another national championship title.

"The Slovak Champion title makes me happy and confirms that I am in great form. I am ready for the Tour, where we have a very strong squad. I will contribute to the effort with the highest commitment and I really look forward to Saturday's start."

Despite the presence of a seven-time grand tour winner in Alberto Contador, de Jongh insisted Tinkoff-Saxo are not be favorites to take the win, noting the difficulty of the task ahead.

“After Alberto conquered the Giro, he spent time in Livigno resting and training, he showed good signs at Route du Sud followed by some days of concentrated training and then a short period of rest before the start in Utrecht," de Jonge said.

"We know how much class Alberto has, but we don’t enter the Tour as the main favorites. His form will, despite a very meticulous effort, be a question mark compared to the form of (Chris) Froome, (Vincenzo) Nibali and (Nairo) Quintana.

“We’ve been studying the parcours closely and there are many stages, where you can’t win the Tour but you can lose it. The flat stages of the first week with possible crosswinds, steep finishes such as Mur du Huy and cobbles will make for a tough start to the race.

"So we took the decision to bring one more guy for the flat stages in exchange for a climber. In the end, what matters the most is that we send a committed squad that comes fully prepared to support Alberto."

Tinkoff-Saxo for the Tour de France
Alberto Contador (ESP), Michael Rogers (AUS), Peter Sagan (SVK), Rafal Majka (POL), Roman Kreuziger (CZE), Ivan Basso (ITA), Daniele Bennati (ITA), Matteo Tosatto (ITA) and Michael Valgren (DEN).