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The Tour de France has the “Fab Four,” so Cannondale-Garmin is going with strength in numbers, bringing a trio of leaders to the Tour. Just call them the “Three Musketeers.”
Perhaps a step behind the five-star favorites, Cannondale confirmed it will bring three riders with wings to fly. With Andrew Talansky, 2012 Giro d’Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal, and Dan Martin, the team promises to attack and surprise.
“We have a very talented group of riders and by bringing three top guys: Andrew, Dan and Ryder, we’re going to make things very interesting,” said team CEO Jonathan Vaughters in a team release Monday. “These three, and the team as a whole, will work seamlessly and selflessly together to shake things up and create opportunities. You’ll see a lot of creativity from us at this Tour.”
What exactly that “creativity” means remains to be seen, but the Argyle Army has delivered one surprise after another during its Tour tenure dating back to 2008. With Talansky and Hesjedal, both confirmed top-10 finishers, and the still unproven GC potential of Martin, Cannondale promises to push the “Fab Four” to their collective limits.
That tactic means the team will not be rallying around one singular captain, but rather riding as a unit, and waiting to see who has the legs to go the distance.
Perhaps a step behind the top favorites — Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), Chris Froome (Sky), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) — the U.S.-registered squad is bringing various options to the Tour in what could be its deepest, most experienced July lineup ever. At least one stage win and a solid GC showing are realistic expectations.
Behind the three team leaders are Jack Bauer, Kristijan Koren, road captain Sebastian Langeveld, and Tour stage-winner Ramunas Navardauskas. Dylan Van Baarle and Nathan Haas will both be riding their debut Tour. With that lineup, the team has its bases covered, except perhaps in the mass gallops, though Haas and Van Baarle might will certainly try to mix it up with the sprinters.
“We are going into the Tour de France with three leaders, all who have very different riding styles, and those styles compliment each other. Andrew, Dan and Ryder have shown they work well together, and that will translate to the roads of the Tour,” said sport director Charly Wegelius on Monday. “Supporting them is a strong bunch. Each rider is capable of stage wins, and working together we expect them to make the race exciting.”
The lineup also marks a clear departure from the team’s historic faces. Hesjedal is the only rider in this year’s Tour who was part of the original Slipstream squad that turned heads in the UCI WorldTour during its debut 2008 season.
Among those missing the cut for the Tour Nine were Alex Howes, who fell ill during the Tour du Suisse, Ben King, and Colombian climber Janier Acevedo.
Cannondale-Garmin for the 2015 Tour de France
Andrew Talansky (USA)
Ryder Hesjedal (CAN)
Dan Martin (IRL)
Jack Bauer (NZL)
Kristijan Koren (SLO)
Sebastian Langeveld (NED)
Ramunas Navardauskas (LIT)
Dylan Van Baarle (NED)
Nathan Haas (AUS)