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Saxo Bank Tour de France team primed to defend Contador’s title

Benjamin Noval is the ninth man for Alberto Contador for the upcoming Tour de France.

2011 Giro d' Italia with Gregg Bleakney - start to finish
Contador aims for the first Giro/Tour double since 1998.

Noval and TT specialist Gustav Larsson were vying for a spot on the Saxo Bank-Sungard squad after several others starters had already been confirmed.

Noval is one of Contador’s most trusted teammates and won out against the Swede to round out what team manager Bjarne Riis called an “exceptionally strong 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 have been to identify the rider group, that will be able to give Alberto the best possible support through the three weeks,” Riis said in a team communique.

“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,” Bjarne Riis adds and points out that the competition for a spot on the Tour roster has been fierce.

“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.”

Four riders were alongside Contador during his Giro d’Italia victory last month, with Richie Porte, Matteo Tosatto, Jesus Hernandez and Dani Navarro all returning for the Tour.

Riders such as Noval, Tosatto, Brian Vandorg and Nicki Sørensen will help protect Contador on the flats while Chris Anker Sørensen will work with Hernandez and Navarro to help Contador on the climbs.

Contador will be trying to become the first rider since Marco Pantani in 1998 to win the Giro and Tour in the same season.

Benjamín Noval is a long-time and trusted Contador lieutenant.

Saxo Bank-Sungard for Tour de France

  • Alberto Contador (Sp)
  • Jesus Hernandez (Sp)
  • Dani Navarro (Sp)
  • Benjamin Noval (Sp)
  • Richie Porte (Aus)
  • Chris Anker Sørensen (Dk)
  • Nicki Sørensen (Dk)
  • Matteo Tosatto (I)
  • Brian Vandborg (Dk)

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