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"A good performance by Rodriguez will be our main objective. If Joaquim gets onto the podium, it will be a great success. If he wins, it will be exceptional," general manager Viatcheslav Ekimov says

Photo: Sirotti








17.06.2013 @ 16:49 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) will be supported by three Russians when he lines up for his first Tour de France since 2010 later this month. Yury Trofimov, Eduard Vorganov and in all likelihood Pavel Brutt will all be on the start line on the island of Corsica and hope to contribute to a performance that will see Rodriguez step onto the podium three weeks later.


Joaquim Rodriguez has deviated from his usual schedule this year to focus 100% on the Tour de France, the Spaniard being attracted by the mountainous route. His Katusha team has still not selected their line-up for the race but general manager Viatcheslav Ekimov has now given the first small insight into the riders that are set to support the Spanish captain.


The Russian team is the pinnacle of the Global Russian Cycling Project which aims to develop Russian riders into world elite cyclists. Hence, it is crucial for the squad to line up some of their home riders at the world' biggest bike race and this year three spots are apparently reserved for Russian riders.


According to Biciciclismo, Ekimov told a Russian newspaper that Yury Trofimov and current Russian champion Eduard Vorganov have both been selected for the race. Trofimov raced as team captain in the recent Giro d'Italia finishing 13th overall, and is now in Andorra to prepare his Tour campaign. This year's edition will see him start the race for the 5th time, his best result being a 29th place in 2011.


Vorganov took over captaincy duties last year when Denis Menchov fell out of contention and the Russian finished a solid 19th. Yesterday, he finished the Tour de Suisse in 28th after having been part of the big break in Friday's queen stage.


The final Russian in the line-up is likely to be Pavel Brutt who also raced the Giro d'Italia but the final decision has not yet been made. Unlike his two compatriots, Brutt is a rider for the flat stages and should be able to offer Rodriguez solid support during the dangerous first week.


For all three riders, there will be only one objective: Rodriguez should step onto the only Grand Tour podium missing in his palmares.


"A good performance by Rodriguez will be our main objective," Ekimov said. "If Joaquim gets onto the podium, it will be a great success. If he wins, it will be exceptional."


The team has not announced a date for the final selection of the roster.



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