HTC-Highroad’s final build-up for the 2011 Tour de France gets underway this weekend at the Critérium du Dauphiné, with the Grenoble time trial as one of the main targets.
“Traditionally the Dauphiné is a big test for the Tour de France, and this year is no exception,” says HTC-Highroad sports director Brian Holm in a team release.
“Tony Martin will be seeing what he can do in the Grenoble time trial, which is identical to the one in the Tour, so that’s a great opportunity for him to get to know it.”
“Both he and Frankie [Frantisek Rabon] will be good cards to play in the Dauphiné prologue, too.”
HTC-Highroad will not be bringing Tejay Van Garderen, who rode to third place in his rookie season last year. Van Garderen recently completed the Tour of California and will have other goals later this season.
“More than the overall, we’ll be seeing what options we’ve got on the day by day,” Holm says, “For example, I know John Degenkolb will be keen to see what he can do in the Dauphiné’s two sprint stages.”
“Kanstantsin has done a solid overall ride in the Giro d’Italia [finishing tenth], and came out well, and he can really exploit that form in the Dauphiné’s mountain stages, too.”
“Like Sivtsov, Danny Pate is another good option in all sorts of situations. He’s a great team worker, really strong, doesn’t get stressed and in a race like the Dauphiné. He could well have his own chances to shine, too.”
HTC-Highroad for Criterium du Dauphiné
John Degenkolb (Ger)
Jan Ghyselinck (Bel)
Tony Martin (Ger)
Danny Pate (USA)
Frantisek Rabon (Cze)
Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Byl)
Gatis Smukulis (Lat)