Garmin waiting to announce Tour nine, will look for opportunities

With incredible depth but no clear leader, Garmin brass won't cut down to nine Tour riders until after a training camp next week in Girona

Photo: Graham Watson

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As other teams unveil their Tour de France rosters, Garmin-Sharp boss Jonathan Vaughters is keeping his cards close to the vest. On Wednesday, Vaughters told VeloNews that he planned to inform 10 riders they may be on the roster, but will have to narrow the number down by one for his final startlist.

The team plans to announce its roster for the Tour on Wednesday, June 26, after a training camp in Girona, Spain, which begins on Sunday.

“I am sending a list of 10. Not nine, but 10, [Thursday], internally for the riders. But I don’t think we’re going to formally announce until Wednesday morning next week,” Vaughters said. Teams must provide Tour organizers with rosters 72 hours before the start of the race. In this case, that’s Wednesday morning of next week.

Garmin has three captains that are expected to make the team: Andrew Talansky, Dan Martin, and Ryder Hesjedal. Vaughters wouldn’t specify if they would all be lining up in Corsica for the Grand Départ, though it would not come as a surprise if all three rode the Tour’s 100th edition.

“I’ve just learned over the years, you bring 10 guys to training camp and there’s always that one guy that, like, gets sick, or something happens … and you never know who that’s going to be,” he said.

The team will be holding a training camp in Girona from Sunday to Wednesday, and Wednesday night, it will fly from Girona to Corisca, where the Tour’s first three stage will take place. During the camp, the squad will work on honing its team time trial form before the Nice TTT.

Garmin has an incredibly deep roster, but not an elite GC rider like a Chris Froome (Sky) or Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff). Coming off a crash at the Tour de Suisse, Hesjedal is the 2012 Giro d’Italia champion, Tour rookie Talansky has proven himself in one-week stage races, Martin is the reigning Liège-Bastogne-Liège champion, and Tom Danielson and Christian Vande Velde have both finished inside the top 10 at the Tour, but none will arrive to Corsica with the team’s outright leadership tag.

“The team is good. It’s such a tricky — like, our Tour team is incredibly difficult to select this year, because our team doesn’t have a clear-cut leader. But we have an incredibly deep team. Dan Martin is totally capable of being a leader. Ryder Hesjedal is totally capable of being a leader. Andrew Talansky is totally capable of being a leader,” Vaughters said. “It’s a deep team. There are lots of really hard decisions, like do we focus more on climbing and the GC, or do we focus more on the team time trial?

“I am the one who’s making the final call, but man it’s hard.”

For success in France, on any level, be it general classification or stage wins, the Garmin riders must attack — they cannot wait for the race to come to them, and Vaughters knows it.

“Still, in the back of my mind I’m thinking, “how is it possible to pull the whole thing off? Where is that weird tactic that everyone’s overlooked?’” Vaughters said. “By stage 11, you’re going to know whether the gods have shined on you or not, or if you need to start looking at stage wins. We need to be adaptable, but at the same time, hunting stages … you get out in a breakaway and nobody’s chasing it and your guy who’s ninth on GC is up the road and everyone’s looking around — I don’t know. We just have to be absolute opportunists. If we roll the dice every single day, hopefully one of the days it comes up in our favor.”

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