• Rafal Majka climbs the Tourmalet during the eleventh stage of the Tour de France (AAP)Source: AAP
Rafal Majka will captain Tinkoff-Saxo at the Vuelta a España while Peter Sagan will hope to log stage wins as both riders back up after a successful Tour de France.
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19 Aug 2015 - 11:06 AM  UPDATED 19 Aug 2015 - 11:08 AM

Alberto Contador, fatigued after an unsuccessful attempt at adding a Tour title to his Giro d'Italia win in May, will not defend his 2014 title, leaving Majka to take the reins of team leadership and Sagan free to roam.

Majka won the punchy Stage 11 of the Tour de France while Sagan notched up a fourth successive points classification (Green Jersey) victory despite not claiming a stage victory. The former will be looking to add to his Tour victory on a stage with a similar profile while the latter will hope to turn a spate of minor podium placings into actual victories.

The pair will be supported during the 21-stage Grand Tour by Pavel Brutt, Jesper Hansen, Daniele Bennati, Maciej Bodnar, Sergio Paulinho, Pawel Poljanski and Australian Jay McCarthy.

“I start and face this Vuelta a España with great enthusiasm, Majka said. "I’ve recovered well, both physically and mentally, which is also very important before a race this long, hard and far into the season.

"I have prepared well at altitude and I will soon know how my shape is exactly, as this Vuelta definitely doesn’t have an easy start.

"I’m happy to lead Tinkoff-Saxo at this Vuelta, I believe that we have a competitive squad and personally I’m very motivated."

Majka solos to a Tour stage victory
Tinkoff-Saxo got the stage win it needed when Rafal Majka broke away for a solo on win the mountainous Stage 11 to Vallée de Saint-Savin at the Tour de France.

With a course weighted to the mountains, the 2015 Vuelta a España is regarded as one of the toughest editions in years. With the exception of Contador, it features a who's who of general classification riders, including the top four Tour de France finishers in Chris Froome (Sky), Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana).

"Our goal is to win a stage with Majka and secure a good final position in the general classification with him," said Tinkoff-Saxo sports director Trisian Hoffman. "Majka is our clear GC captain and he will be up against most of the big stars such as Froome, Quintana and Nibali.

"At the same time, we’ll support Sagan, who’s feeling ready after a post-Tour recovery period. He will be targeting the flat and hilly stages, while Rafal will have the backing of the entire team in the mountains."

Sagan sews up green jersey
While he hasn’t won a stage at this year’s Tour de France, Peter Sagan has all but secured the green sprinters’ jersey with a fifth second place finish in Gap.

Despite not claiming a stage at the Tour, Sagan starred with his aggressive racing and and on several occasions put on a masterclass in skilful descending. Expectations are high that he will do the same again while converting some of that enthusiasm into a stage win.

“After a tough and demanding Tour de France, I had a good period of rest and I prepared myself in order to give my best at the Vuelta a España," Sagan said.

"I will assess my shape during the race. It will, undoubtedly, be a hard and challenging Vuelta and I look forward to going back to racing with my team."