Still riding the vapors of its most successful Tour de France ever, Garmin-Cervélo will take on next year’s grande boucle with even higher ambitions.
Team boss Jonathan Vaughters said the absence of a team time trial in next year’s course will have a major impact on how the team is selected and how the tactics play out on the road.
“Our tactics will change considerably from what we did last year,” Vaughters told VeloNews. “We will have a lot of cards to play again, but we’ll play it differently than last year.”
Vaughter’s troops finally got the Tour monkey off their back in 2011.
After scoring dozens of second and third places in Tour stages, the team broke through with three individual stage victories, victory in the team time trial, several days in the yellow jersey with Thor Hushovd and a spot on the final podium with the overall team classification.
The exit of Hushovd to BMC will mean that Tyler Farrar will see stronger support in the sprints. Farrar won the third stage of the Tour, but has lost the support of key lead-out man Julian Dean, who’s switched to GreenEdge.
A healthy Heinrich Haussler should be back in the Tour next year, perhaps playing the joker role of helping Farrar in the pure sprinter stages and then having his own chances in the more classics-style stages packed into the first week.
“I see a lot of stages for Tyler,” Vaughters continued. “We will be a mixed team like we always do, a team that can be competitive during the entire race in all the key moments.”
On the GC side of things, Ryder Hesjedal, Christian Vande Velde and Tommy Danielson will all likely be back in the fold. All three have posted top-10 overall GC results and Vaughters sees this year’s course even suiting them better.
“The route lends it more toward a time trialist who can climb as opposed to a pure climber,” he said. “It’s really good for Tommy D and Christian. Tommy D, even though he’s skinny, he’s almost more like a time trialist who can climb. Christian is the same way. It’s a good route for those guys.”
As always, competition will be intense to make a spot on the Tour Nine roster. Team veterans David Zabriskie and David Millar will both be expecting to go, along with the team’s three GC riders and another rider or two to help Farrar and Haussler. That means it will be a real dogfight for the final spot on the Tour roster.
“We’ve got a lot of young riders like Dan (Martin) who have been pushing their way up and who are ready for the Tour de France team,” he said. “It might be hard to top last year, but we’re going to try.”