PARIS (AFP) — Former Tour de France winner Alberto Contador and world champion Peter Sagan head Russian team Tinkoff’s assault on the Tour de France which starts this weekend. The online banking outfit’s owner, Russian magnate Oleg Tinkoff, confidently describes Contador as “the next winner of the Tour de France.”
The 33-year-old Spaniard, taking part in his ninth Tour, will be chiefly assisted by Poland’s Rafal Majka, fifth in the Giro, Czech Republic champion Roman Kreuziger and Robert Kiserlovski.
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“This will be a very important Tour de France for all of us,” said Contador. “It will be the Tour in which we would like to show Oleg Tinkov our gratitude for his support all these years. I’m exceptionally motivated for this race and we have been working throughout the year thinking about the Tour de France. Hopefully, everything will play out the way we want.”
Contador won the Tour in 2009 but he was stripped of his second win in 2010 after testing positive for the banned stimulant clenbuterol.
Sagan, 26, is seeking his fifth successive green jersey for topping the Tour points classification. The 2015 world champion has won four stages, the last in 2013. “The Tour de France is one of the major highlights of my season, and I believe that compared to last season, where I didn’t manage to win a stage win, this year I’ll reach my goal and win something,” Sagan said. “I have no particular selected day that suits me, but I am convinced that this year’s route includes stages that conform to my style of racing.”
Tinkoff Tour de France team
Alberto Contador (SP)
Maciej Bodnar (P)
Oscar Gatto (I)
Robert Kiserlovski (Cro)
Roman Kreuziger (Cz)
Rafal Majka (P)
Peter Sagan (Svk)
Matteo Tosatto (I)
Michael Valgren (Dk)