Astana has high hopes for Danish climber Jakob Fuglsang in the 100th Tour de France, which begins Saturday in Corsica.
Finishing fourth overall in the Critérium du Dauphiné showed that Fuglsang “was very motivated to do well,” said sports director Dimitry Sedoun.
“This Tour de France has a lot of individual opportunities for stage victories, and we will send an experienced set of riders to seek them out,” Sedoun said. “The winds off the Atlantic seacoast will split the peloton to favor breakaways, and the four stages in the Alps are going to make the whole race a fight to the finish.
“In particular the Alpe d’Huez day we expect a very, very hard first climb, and an extremely difficult descent to come back for the second time up the mountain.”
Janez Brajkovic, ninth in Paris last year, has also made Astana’s nine for the Tour. Giro d’Italia champion Vincenzo Nibali, who finished third in last year’s Tour, is skipping the race this time around to focus on the Vuelta a España and the world championships.
Astana for the 2013 Tour de France
Assan Bazayev (KAZ)
Janez Brajkovic (SLO)
Jakob Fuglsang (DEN)
Enrico Gasparotto (ITA)
Francesco Gavazzi (ITA)
Andrey Kashechkin (KAZ)
Fredrik Kessiakoff (SWE)
Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ)
Dmitri Muravyev (KAZ)