Tour de France - Contador's lieutenants named

Wed, 22 Jun 09:52:00 2011

Three-times Tour de France champion Alberto Contador will have strong support in next month's showpiece race after Saxo Bank SunGard named their team.

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Contador, who won the Tour in 2007, 2009 and 2010, will be helped by climbers Jesus Hernandez and Dani Navarro, as well as close friend Benjamin Noval.

Australian Richie Porte, winner of the white jersey last year, will also support El Pistolero with the Danish duo of Chris Anker Sørensen and Nicki Sørensen likely to do much of the hard work for their team leader.

Italian veteran Matteo Tosatto and Brian Vandborg complete the team.

"We've obviously tried to pick the team that fits the best to our overall strategy. It is no secret that we are in the race to win it, so our job has been to identify the rider group that will be able to give Alberto the best possible support through the three weeks," team owner Bjarne Riis said.

"We have come up with a team that can both protect and be aggressive and defend, and we are strong both on the flat roads and in the mountains. I think it's an exceptionally strong team.

"It's never an easy job to tell people, they didn't make the team. Some of the riders we turned down really deserved a spot on the team."

After testing positive for the banned anabolic agent clenbuterol during the 2010 Tour, Contador was cleared by the Spanish cycling federation but the International Cycling Union and the World Anti-Doping Agency appealed.

Until CAS gives its verdict, Contador is allowed to race. Contador, one of only five men to win all three Grand Tours, will aim for a first Giro d'Italia/Tour de France double since Marco Pantani achieved the feat in 1998.

The Tour de France starts on July 2.


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