Chris Horner and Janez Brajkovic will join Lance Armstrong in his bid to win an eighth Tour de France.
RadioShack team boss Johan Bruyneel announced the team’s nine-man Tour roster Tuesday via a video message posted on the team’s Web page.
“It was very difficult choosing nine riders out of 15 candidates,” Bruyneel said. “We’re very satisfied with the month of June … The month of June is when we prepare for the biggest goal of the year, the Tour de France.”
Horner, 38, will be back in the Tour after missing the past two editions. Astana was not allowed to race the 2008 Tour in Horner’s first year with the team and last year he was not included as Armstrong and former teammate Alberto Contador wrangled for control of the squad.
This will be Horner’s fourth career Tour start. He made his debut in 2005 with Saunier Duval, nearly winning a stage in a breakaway with Sylvain Chavanel to Montpellier. He raced two more Tours in support of Cadel Evans with Lotto, riding to a career-best 15th overall in 2007.
“When we arrive at the Tour, Lance knows I am going to be his guardian angel. When it comes to the mountains, I will be there for Lance,” Horner told VeloNews earlier this month. “I get along with Lance really well. Lance knows that I know what my job is. There is no chance where I wouldn’t work for someone on the team. Everyone on this team knows it.”
Also getting a nod is Brajkovic, who looked impressive en route to fending off Contador to win the Critérium du Dauphiné in June. The former U23 world time trial champion won the long time trial stage and then marked the attacking Contador up Alpe d’Huez to seal overall victory in the important warm-up test.
The team’s confidence will be on the upswing after Armstrong’s equally impressive second-place ride at the recent Tour de Suisse. Armstrong, currently previewing climbing stages in the Alps, will have strong support in his bid to win an eighth Tour.
Joining as co-captains will be Andreas Kloden and Levi Leipheimer, both former podium finishers at the Tour.
Sergio Paulihno, Yaroslav Popovych, Gregory Rast and Dmitry Muravyev will all be back from last year’s Tour squad to provide support on the flats and medium mountain stages.
RadioShack for Tour de France
- Lance Armstrong (USA)
- Levi Leipheimer (USA)
- Chris Horner (USA)
- Andreas Kloden (Ger)
- Janez Brajkovic (Slo)
- Sergio Paulihno (Por)
- Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr)
- Gregory Rast (Swi)
- Dmitry Muravyev (Kaz)