June 22, 2004
Rabobank names Tour squad; T-Mobile's likely lineup
Rabobank has announced its Tour de France squad. Likely GC contenders are American Levi Leipheimer and Tour rookie Michael Rasmussen. South Africa's Robert Hunter, coming off two wins in last week's Tour of Switzerland, is the team's reserve.
The full lineup (* denotes a former Tour stage winner):
• Levi Leipheimer
• Michael Rasmussen
• Michael Boogerd (*)
• Erik Dekker (*)
• Marc Wauters (*)
• Karsten Kroon (*)
• Bram de Groot
• Marc Lotz
• Grischa Niermann
Team director Erik Breukink said the loss of Oscar Freire to surgery gives the team one less way of winning:
"For the line up of our team, we have looked at the qualities of Rasmussen, Leipheimer and Boogerd for the mountain stages plus an attacking way of competing in the other stages," said Erik Breukink. "Now that we're missing Freire, unfortunately, we're out for the bunch sprints, but for the other stages we have the qualities."
It's a fairly old team, but also very experienced: 42 Tour starts and 31 (!) finishes.
Cyclingnews also quotes from a Belgian newspaper that T-Mobile's squad is chosen, and will be announced on Friday. Their sources name:
• Jan Ullrich
• Cadel Evans
• Giuseppe Guerini
• Andreas Klöden
• Matthias Kessler
• Daniele Nardello
• Santiago Botero
• Erik Zabel
• Rolf Aldag
It will be interesting to see whether Erik Zabel can make anything happen in this year's Tour; he had a string of 2nd-place finishes early in the season.
Botero just missed the podium in 2002, finishing 4th while riding for Kelme, partly on the strength of a stage victory in the long time trial, where he was the first person since 1999 to beat Armstrong in the Tour's long time trial. He'll be a big motor for T-Mobile in the team time trial, along with Ullrich, of course.
Update 6/23 12:10 a.m.: Cyclingnews now says they may have jumped the gun on the T-Mobile listing, and that Cadel Evans has learned that he's the first reserve, without naming who would take his place.
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