Tour de France: Alberto Contador supported by strong Saxo-Tinkoff climbing team
Last Updated: 20/06/13 3:44pm
Alberto Contador with Michael Rogers at the recent Criterium du Dauphine
Saxo-Tinkoff have surrounded yellow jersey hope Alberto Contador with climbing talent in their line-up for the Tour de France.
Contador goes into the race as one of the favourites along with Team Sky's Chris Froome and the Denmark-based squad have opted to go into the race without a rider from their home nation.
Former Sky rider Michael Rogers leads the Spaniard's support team along with Roman Kreuziger and Nicolas Roche, both of whom have good previous results in the three-week long race.
Contador will also have long-term domestiques and friends Jesus Hernandez, Benjamin Noval and Sergio Paulinho alongside him, with the team rounded out by Italians Matteo Tossato and Daniele Bennati.
The 2007 and 2009 champion (also disqualified after winning in 2011 for a doping offence) recently finished 10th in the Criterium du Dauphine, where Rogers came home in sixth.
That means no ride for one of last season's stars Michael Morkov, who was a regular in breakaways, Nicki Sorensen and Chris Anker Sorensen, which team owner Bjarne Riis admits were tough decisions to make.
"On a personal level it has been a tough decision for me to not have a Danish rider in the lineup," Riis said.
"But we have committed ourselves to go with the group we believe has the best composition to achieve our overall goal.
"I think we have found a great mix of in-form riders.
"We have a group of strong climbers in the team, we have riders designated to take care of Alberto on the flat roads and in the wind, and I'm sure we will perform well in the TTT (team time trial) as well."
"At the same time, this team will allow us to ride aggressively or take a more controlling approach in all terrains depending on our needs. At the end of the day, this versatility will be a key component in trying to win the race."
Team: Michael Rogers, Nicolas Roche, Matteo Tosatto, Daniele Bennati, Sergio Paulinho, Alberto Contador, Jesus Hernandez, Benjamin Noval, Roman Kreuziger.