Someone asked me if it’s harder to write previews for the teams with the best or the worst chances to make a big impact on the race. Let me illustrate the answer to this question with Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank’s roster for the 2012 Tour de France:
Juan Jose Haedo
Karsten Kroon (1 Tour stage victory)
Sergio Paulinho (1 Tour stage victory)
Chris Anker Sorensen
Nicki Sorensen (1 Tour stage victory)
Bjarne Riis has placed a rider on the podium in 6 of the last 8 Tours de France. With the exception of Johan Bruyneel, few directors in the modern era can boast of such success. And were it not for the suspension of Alberto Contador, Riis would be coming to this race with one of the top favorites.
Instead, he’s bringing the best nine riders he could find—including a classics star who missed most of the spring, a track specialist, a couple of Tour rookies, and a sprinter with only one victory so far this season.
My how the mighty have fallen. Does that answer the question?
Man of the Hour
Chris Anker Sorensen was supposed to be one of Bjarne Riis’ next best discoveries. Unfortunately, he’s failed to live up to expectations. That said, in a Tour de France where every rider on the team will be encouraged to throw caution to the wind. Sorensen could score a stage victory similar to his win in Stage 8 of the 2010 Giro d’Italia.
Lund and Morkov are the youngest riders on the roster. Aggressive and unafraid to mix it up in a breakaway, they’ll have more than their fair of chances to make an impact.
Nicki Sorensen has been with Bjarne Riis since 2001. The Dane won a stage at the Tour de France in 2009 and with no one to work for this year, could do it again.
Follow Whit on Twitter at @whityost