• Alberto Bettiol takes his first professional win in one of the great upsets at the 2019 Tour of Flanders (Getty)Source: Getty
EF Education First have named a squad full of talented riders for the 2019 Tour de France.
By
SBS Cycling Central

3 Jul 2019 - 9:13 AM  UPDATED 3 Jul 2019 - 9:14 AM

The American team have named an interesting squad for the Tour, with 2017 runner-up Rigoberto Uran, 2nd-placed Criterium du Dauphine finisher Tejay van Garderen and Tour of Flanders winner Alberto Bettiol headlining the team announcement. 

Also boasting attacking climber Michael Woods and road captain Simon Clarke, the team could potentially target a high GC finish, stage wins or the mountains classification.

“Our specific ambitions we will leave to ourselves. As giving it away wouldn’t be any fun,” says team CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “And we’re all about having a bit of fun.”

Australian Simon Clarke comes into the race after a purple patch of form earlier in the year that saw him finish as runner-up at Amstel Gold Race and in the top ten at Milan San Remo, Strade Bianche and the Tirreno-Adriatico.

"The team has evolved in the last few years, but we haven’t made too many changes to the roster since Rigo got second," said Clarke. "That core roster has grown stronger, and I’m confident that we’re bringing a more solid, united team than ever at the Tour. We’re all so motivated to represent the EF colors in July.”

Former podium finisher Uran comes into the race with just 19 race days under his belt after breaking his collarbone during Stage 2 of Paris-Nice. He warmed up for the Tour with third overall behind Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) at Route d'Occitanie.

“The route is going to be a good one for me this year," said Uran. "There are some hard stages, like always, with a lot of stages that finish over 2000 metres. Fans can expect a beautiful, challenging route.

"In the last week, that’s when the gaps will form between the leaders. This year is a good year for Colombians who are from high altitude, the born climbers.”

Alberto Bettiol will be the man to watch early from the team, with the race starting in Brussels, near the scene of his famous Tour of Flanders triumph earlier this season.

“Doing the Tour this year is another big opportunity," said Bettiol. "It’s an honor to be a part of the Tour squad, and it’s also a great responsibility. I’m really looking forward to the start of the race. With the Tour beginning in Brussels, in Belgium, where a few months ago I won the most famous one-day race, the Tour of Flanders, I feel like the first stages in Belgium will be really special for me.” 

EF Education First squad: Tejay van Garderen, Rigoberto Uran, Michael Woods, Tom Scully, Sebastian Langeveld, Tanel Kangert, Simon Clarke, Alberto Bettiol.