Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hey Akmaud! Does this 7-11 Take Euros?

From: Euro Peloton

Sastre to Tour of California, Other Big Names Sure to Follow

The Cervelo TestTeam will be coming to the Tour of California, and team leader Carlos Sastre will make the trip to the great American west as he begins his 2009 season. Although no other riders have been officially announced, it is likely that Thor Hushovd, Dominique Rollin, Roger Hammond, Ted King, Hayden Roulston, and Andreas Klier will probably be chosen for the squad.

Thor has ridden the ToC before, in 2006, and he'll be looking to build his early season form for an eventual run at one of the cobbled classics. Hammond and Klier too will be targeting the early northern classics, and will use California to familiarize themselves with each others riding style. Roulston, after riding on the American circuit in 2008, will be a valuable rider to help with race routes and with leading out Hushovd in the sprints. Plus, Roulston finished in the top ten on two stages in last year's Tour, so he may be a dark horse for a sneaky victory during the nine day race.

Ted King meanwhile, after a breakout 2008, will enjoy beginning his season in California, and will no doubt enjoy returning to American soil before a challenging first year of big time racing in Europe. King showed his chops in 2008 as a potent climber, and the youngster will look to watch and learn from the talented veterans around him.

Last but not least, Dominique Rollin. "The Weapon of Mass Destruction" outlasted the field on last year's brutal Queen Stage of the Tour of California, and he signalled his ability as a potential hard man of the sport. A gritty, burly Canadian, Rollin like Ted King takes a big step up, and one that he is likely ready for. He'll ride in support of Hushovd for most of the season, and he may not get too many wins, but the experience he'll gain will be worth its weight in gold in 2010. And, lest we forget, Rollin was last year's best sprinter.

No comments: