Bora-hansgrohe roulering with the punches
No Aussie Jay McCarthy for Sagan at this year's Tour, but the world champion has a squad around him built for the cobbles and the rouleur type stuff, including Daniel Oss and Marcus Burghardt.
"The stage to Roubaix will be special, for me as well, now that I have these good memories about this place and the sectors," Sagan said. "However, the race will be different then in April, with all the GC guys fighting at the front as well. We need a little bit of luck to achieve our goals; without luck, everything can be lost in one moment. But we have a very strong team going into this Tour de France, and there will be some opportunities for us for sure.”
Rafal Majka is a co-leader of the team but only really has Pawel Poljanski pure climbing wise.
“My preparations went well over the last weeks and I was able to put in some decent work at high altitude in the Sierra Nevada," the Polish rider said. "I crashed at the Tour of Slovenia, that was a little setback, but in the last stages a could feel my legs got better and better day by day. I think I am ready for the Tour now. Now we just need a little bit of luck to get through the first ten stages. The Roubaix stage will be special, but on that day I’ll have the strongest guys from the whole peloton next to me.”
BORA-hansgrohe for the 2018 Tour de France: Marcus Burghardt, Gregor Mühlberger, Pawel Poljanski, Peter Sagan, Maciej Bodnar, Rafal Majka, Daniel Oss, Lukas Pöstlberger
This time last year, comeback 'kid' Heinrich Haussler didn't really know if he'd be riding after 2017. But the Inverellian pulled 2018 around after suffering a knee injury that benched him for most of 2017 and a collarbone fracture in January 2018.
Haussler to line-up for first Tour since 2014
The Aussie performed strongly during the spring classics season and was there for his team during Paris-Nice and for Vincenzo Nibali at the Criterium du Dauphine. In addition to Haussler, the team will count on Franco Pellizotti, and Sonny Colbrelli for those tough first nine stages and the Izagirre brothers along for the climbing. Domenico Pozzovivo backs up from the Giro.
“I’m very happy to go back to the Tour," Nibali said. "I liked the route right from the start and the charm of the Grand Boucle is indisputable. I’m going to France with a lot of serenity and with the knowledge that I have done everything possible to achieve the best result”.
“The team that will be with me in France is one of the strongest ever. We will be competitive on all kinds of routes: from the climbs to the time trial."
Bahrain Merida for the 2018 Tour de France: Vincenzo Nibali, Domenico Pozzovivo, Gorka Izagirre, Ion Izagirre, Franco Pellizotti, Heinrich Haussler, Sonny Colbrelli and Kristijan Koren
An Aussie and a Kiwi to rock the pink Argyle
Team EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale has selected experienced Australian Simon Clarke for road captain duties to support last year's runner-up Rigoberto Uran.
"My role is to take leadership on the road," Clarke said. "And this becomes more and more important the better Rigo is riding, which became really evident last year in the Tour. When a Tour de France podium is at stake, every decision takes on a new sense of importance. I had a massive learning curve last year, riding in a team where a bad decision could impact our ability to achieve a great result. I learned a lot last year that I’ll bring into this year’s race, behind the scenes, to try to provide Rigo with the best opportunity to ride to an even better result than last year.”
But it's Kiwi Tom Scully's first Tour.
"I’m taking my first Tour day-by-day," he said. "Ready to do whatever they need me to in support of our general classification ambitions. I’m there to ride the wind, get the bottles or whatever."
Meanwhile, the popular Taylor Phinney may be an asset for the cobbles and the team time trial but he will fill another important role.
“I think my role is chief vibration officer," said the ironic hipster. "I have to keep the vibes up, make sure the frequencies are calibrated. Mostly I’m there as team player, looking after Rigo and the rest of the guys on the flat stages. If there’s some sort of a window where I can go for something myself, I’ll take that opportunity but that’s not what I’m going to the Tour to do – but you never know what can happen over three weeks.”
Team EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale for the 2018 Tour de France: Rigoberto Uran, Pierre Rolland, Dani Martinez, Simon Clarke, Sep Vanmarcke, Tom Scully, Taylor Phinney, Lawson Craddock.