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Irishman will target stage wins and possibly the GC on this year's mountainous course while American will race his first grand tour of the season

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ALEX RASMUSSEN

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CALEB FAIRLY

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DANIEL MARTIN

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EF PRO CYCLING

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JOHAN VAN SUMMEREN

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KOLDO FERNANDEZ DE LARREA

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MICHEL KREDER

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NICK NUYENS

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TYLER FARRAR

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VUELTA A ESPAÑA

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21.08.2013 @ 11:01 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Garmin-Sharp will enter this year's Vuelta a Espana with a dual focus on both the mountainous and sprint stages. Daniel Martin hopes to replicate his success of the 2011 edition where he won a stage and finished 13th overall while Tyler Farrar will finally get his chance in one of the 2013 grand tours, hoping to shine in a field with very few big-name sprinters.

 

Garmin-Sharp decided to put all their eggs in the GC basket for both the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France and this left Tyler Farrar without a chance to follow his usual grand tour-heavy schedule. For the final grand tour of the season, the team will take a different approach, lining up a team that is more geared towards the sprint stages.

 

This year's mountainous course has prompted big-name sprinters like Marcel Kittel, Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel to skip the Spanish grand tour and this has opened the door from some of the less decorated sprinters. Once part of the sprinting elite, Farrar has had a difficult couple of seasons and hasn't added to his grand tour tally - which contains stage wins in all three three-week races - since his 2011 Tour de France win.

 

The American now sees a genuine chance to get back to his winning ways at the Vuelta and his recent performance in the Eneco Tour where he finished 3rd in a tough uphill sprint, suggests that he has the form to be competitive. He has only won three races during the 2012 and 2013 seasons - all of them taken in North America - but now hopes to put an end to his European drought.

 

He will get a very strong team to support him and the squad shapes up as one of the best for the sprint stages - probably only surpassed by the Belkin train. Koldo Fernandez and Alex Rasmussen will be his main support riders in the sprints and those three riders had the chance to fine-tune their cooperation at the Eneco Tour. He can also count on the support from Michel Kreder who may even take his own chance in some of the tougher uphill sprints.

 

The team won't be invisible in the mountain stages either as the Americans plan to line up Daniel Martin. The Irishman got sick during the final week of the Tour de France at a time when he found himself in the top 10 on GC but already had won a big Pyrenean stage at that point. He most recently raced the Vuelta in 2011 when he won a mountain stage and finished 13th overall, and is likely to take his usual day-by-day approach to this year's final grand tour.

 

Alex Howes will be his main support rider in the mountains as the young American is set to make his grand tour debut on the back on some very strong rides in the mountainous Tour de Pologne and Tour de l'Ain. Caleb Fairly will be his second mountain domestique with the American also set to ride his maiden three-week race.

 

The roster is completed by classics specialists Johan Vansummeren and Nick Nuyens who will target stage wins. The latter has had a tough time since crashing in the 2012 Paris-Nice but his recent performance in the Eneco Tour suggests that he has finally overcome his woes and he finished 9th in the very difficult queen stage in the Ardennes.

 

The Vuelta starts on Saturday with a team time trial in Galicia.

 

Garmin-Sharp for the Vuelta a Espana

Tyler Farrar, Koldo Fernandez, Alex Rasmussen, Michel Kreder, Daniel Martin, ALex Howes, Caleb Fairly, Nick Nuyens and Johan Vansummeren

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