Tour de France 2012 Team Preview: Saxo Bank-Tinkoff

Fotoreporter Sirotti

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:

Jonathan Cantwell

Juan Jose Haedo

Karsten Kroon (1 Tour stage victory)

Anders Lund

Michael Morkov

Nick Nuyens

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.

Up-and-Comer

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.

Unsung Hero

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

About Whit

My experiences might easily fit many cycling fans' definitions of “living the dream.” Since getting hooked on the sport watching Lance Armstrong win the 1993 U.S. Pro Championship, I've raced as an amateur on Belgian cobbles, traveled Europe to help build a European pro team, and piloted that team from Malaysia to Mont Ventoux. As a former assistant director sportif with Mercury-Viatel, I've also seen the less dreamy side of the sport – the side rife with broken contracts, infighting, and positive dope tests. These days, I live with my lovely wife in Pennsylvania and share my experiences and views on the sport at Bicycling Magazine, the Embrocation Cycling Journal, and at my own site, Pavé.
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