Katusha team jersey 2012

Katusha has opted for a two-prong attack at this year's Tour de France with Oscar Freire as well as Denis Menchov confirmed to lead the Russian squad.

Former six-time green jersey champion, Erik Zabel, who joined the outfit as a sports director this season, has not been included in a list of team staff for the June 30 to July 22 race.

Giampaolo Caruso, Vladimir Gusev, Joan Horrach, Aliaksandr Kuchynski, Luca Paolini, Yuriy Trofimov and Eduard Vorganov round out the nine-man rider roster. Valerio Piva, Dmitry Konyshev and Torsten Schmidt will be on board as sports directors.

Former three-time world champion Freire will be looking for stage wins whilst Menchov has his sights set on the overall classification.

"It's a great responsibility that gives me high motivation," Menchov said in a team statement.

"It will be my first big stage race with the team of my country, so I'll give my best in order to win. Moreover, the Tour de France is the only competition between the Grand Tours that I still haven't won.

"It's not a secret that this year it was my main goal. It would be the crowning achievement of my career, so that is why I look forward to the start.

"The team is great. We selected the riders very carefully. I talked a lot with the sport directors. I think that it's the best possible team having in mind our shape and the profile of the competition.

"We have good domestiques and Freire during this season proved to be in a great shape. I´m very satisfied with the final roster and I'm sure we will obtain some great results."

Katusha team for 2012 Tour de France: Giampaolo Caruso, Oscar Freire, Vladimir Gusev, Joan Horrach, Aliaksandr Kuchynski, Denis Menchov, Luca Paolini, Yuriy Trofimov, Eduard Vorganov.

Related links

Tour de France 2012 team tracker

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Sophie Smith is an Australian journalist, broadcaster and author of Pain & Privilege: Inside Le Tour. She follows the WorldTour circuit, working for British, Australian and US press, and has covered 10 Tours de France.