As widely expected, Britain?s Mark Cavendish has been named in the T-Mobile team for the Tour de France but fellow Brit Roger Hammond missed out on a place in the final nine.
22 year-old Cavendish seemed unlikely to ride the Tour in his first full season as a professional but his six wins in sprints throughout the first part of the season convinced the T-Mobile management to take a chance. He will probably only ride the first ten days of the race but is potentially a contender for stage wins in the opening six stages.
“It?s like a dream come true for me to ride the Tour so early in my career,? Cavendish said on hearing of his selection.
?I will give it everything to repay the team management for their faith in me.”
T-Mobile team manager Bob Stapleton has always supported Cavendish and was confident he will do well in the Tour.
?The team believes in him, he believes in himself, he?s won against other top riders already. The Tour takes all that up another notch though – the speed and the intensity at the finish is going to be something he hasn?t experienced yet,? Stapleton said.
HAMMOND MISSES OUT
Unfortunately, Roger Hammond did not get a place in the T-Mobile team for the Tour de France.
He played a key role in helping team mate Marcus Burghardt win Ghent-Wevelgem in April and finished seconds himself and despite being named in the 13-rider long list for the Tour, he did not get a place in the final nine. It is likely that Cavendish?s selection and Axel Merckx?s desire to ride the Tour in his last season played against Hammond?s chances.
T-Mobile hope Michael Rogers will do well in the overall standings of the Tour, despite a poor performance in the recent Tour of Switzerland and a slight knee problem. Other riders in the team include Bernhard Eisel, Linus Gerdemann, Giuseppe Guerini, Kim Kirchen, Axel Merckx and Patrik Sinkewitz.
Veteran climber Guerini is still recovering from a stomach problem that forced him to quit the Tour of Switzerland but will test his form at the Italian national championships on Sunday. If he is not fit Germany?s Bert Grabsch will replace him in the team.
?We believe we are sending a very balanced team,? Stapleton said of the line-up.
?We have guys who are strong in the mountains and overall GC riders circled around Rogers. That?s Sinkewitz, Gerdeman and Merckx. We have breakaway specialists and we have sprinters.?
?We are sending a very capable team with a lot of young guys,? says Stapleton. ?The bulk of the team is 26 years or younger, there are a couple of veterans but overall it is quite a young team going to the Tour.?
T-Mobile’s nine for the Tour de France:
Marcus Burghardt (23/Germany)
Mark Cavendish (22/Great Britain)
Bernhard Eisel (26/Austria)
Giuseppe Guerini (37/Italy)
Linus Gerdemann (24/Germany)
Kim Kirchen (28/Luxembourg)
Axel Merckx (34/Belgium)
Michael Rogers (27/Australia)
Patrik Sinkewitz (27/Germany).