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Tour de France

Menchov leads Rabobank to Tour

Rabobank will bring a strong and balanced team to the 2009 Tour de France, with a quiver full of stage hunters and podium contender Denis Menchov. It will be interesting to see how Menchov performs in the Tour after being pushed to the limit by Danilo Di Luca to claim a thrilling victory at the Giro d’Italia in May. Third last year at the Tour (after Bernhard Kohl's results are negated), Menchov will be one of the favorites for victory, especially if he can ride as consistently and strongly as he did at the Giro.

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Menchov has two of the three grand tours to his credit. Now he wants the other one.

Menchov has two of the three grand tours to his credit. Now he wants the other one.

Photo: Agence France Presse

Rabobank will bring a strong and balanced team to the 2009 Tour de France, with a quiver full of stage hunters and podium contender Denis Menchov.

It will be interesting to see how Menchov performs in the Tour after being pushed to the limit by Danilo Di Luca to claim a thrilling victory at the Giro d’Italia in May.

Third last year at the Tour (after Bernhard Kohl’s results are negated), Menchov will be one of the favorites for victory, especially if he can ride as consistently and strongly as he did at the Giro.

“Denis is our absolute leader. If he’s as strong as he was in the Giro, he can aim for the top places,” said Rabobank sport director Erik Breukink. “The big favorite for victory remains Alberto Contador. We don’t know what will happen with Astana, but they will be strong. Behind Contador is the group where Menchov is, with Evans, Schleck and Sastre, and perhaps Armstrong and Leipheimer.”

Backing him up will be workers Grischa Niermann, Laurens Ten Dam, who was with him at the Giro, Spanish climber Juanma Garate and Joost Posthuma.

Highly vaunted climber Robert Gesink will make his Tour debut, which will surely capture most of the media attention in cycling crazed Holland, taking away pressure from the camera-shy Menchov.

Gesink has tried to lower expectations, insisting that he’s coming to the Tour to help Menchov and perhaps try for a stage victory one day in the mountains. Otherwise, he would be content to arrive to Paris and perhaps vie for the white jersey of the best young rider.

Oscar Freire – last year’s green jersey winner – will be back to bump shoulders in the sprints while Juan Antonio Flecha can be counted on to go on the attack to try to win stages in the transition stages between the big climbs.

Rabobank for Tour de France

  • Denis Menchov
  • Grischa Niermann
  • Juan Antonio Flecha
  • Oscar Freire
  • Juan Manuel Garate
  • Joost Posthuma
  • Stef Clement
  • Laurens Ten Dam
  • Robert Gesink