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Spaniard hopes to improve on last year's 10th place while the squad's A team will line up in the Tour de Suisse

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BEN HERMANS

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CRITERIUM DU DAUPHINE

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HAIMAR ZUBELDIA

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JAN BAKELANTS

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LAURENT DIDIER

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MARKEL IRIZAR ARANBURU

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MATTHEW BUSCHE

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THOMAS ROHREGGER

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TREK - SEGAFREDO

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01.06.2013 @ 11:02 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

While the likes of Andy Schleck, Fabian Cancellara and Andreas Klöden will line up in the Tour de Suisse next Saturday, Radioshack has sent a less star-studded line up to the other big preparation race for the Tour, the Tour de Suisse. Haimar Zubeldia will be the team's leader and he hopes to improve on last year's performance that saw him finish 10th.

 

Traditionally, Andy Schleck has fine-tuned his Tour de France condition in the Tour de Suisse and after an unsuccessful experiment last year that saw him start the Criterium du Dauphiné, he is back to his usual schedule. As Andreas Klöden and Fabian Cancellara also stick to their custom choice of races, this leaves the Radioshack team with fewer stars in their line-up for the Criterium du Dauphiné.

 

However, that does not mean that the Luxembourg team has no chance to play a prominent role in the Alpine event. The team will be led by veteran Haimar Zubeldia who has always performed strongly in the race. In 2000, he broke through by finishing 2nd, in 2002 he was 4th, in 2008 5th, in 2009 8th and last year he once again ended up as 10th, proving that he has what it takes to perform in the mountainous race.

 

Until now, the Spaniard has had a quiet season and most recently finished a modest 17th in the Tour of California. However, he is usually a slow starter who shows his first signs of life at the Dauphiné and it would be no surprise to see him mix it up with the best in the coming week. Last year, he went on to finish 6th in the Tour de France as the highest placed Radioshack rider, and this year he once again hopes to hit peak condition for the French event.

 

He will be surrounded by a team of solid climbers. Ben Hermans has struggled with illness and injuries in recent years but performed strongly in the Dauphiné in 2011. He showed signs of improvements in the Tour of Belgium where he finished 5th in the time trial. His compatriot Jan Bakelants is a very aggressive rider in the mountains but has now raced since the Tour de Romandie and so his condition is a bit of an unknown.

 

Last year the team's other star performer in the Dauphiné was young Frenchman Tony Gallopin who was involved in a hard battle for the green jersey. He went on to perform strongly in the first part of the Tour until health problems forced him to abandon. He is a fast finisher and a good climber, and the numerous lumpy finishes in this year's race should suit him well.

 

Matthew Busche arrives fresh from a 6th place finish in the Tour of California but the American has always found it difficult to translate his strong performances on American soil to the European races. The team is completed by Laurent Didier, Markel Irizar, Benjamin King and Thomas Rohregger.

 

With spots in the Tour roster up for grabs, the riders have plenty of incentives to perform well in the Alpine race which starts tomorrow with a road race around the Swiss city of Champery.

 

Radioshack-Leopard for the Criterium du Dauphiné

Haimar Zubeldia, Matthew Busche, Laurent Didier, Markel Irizar, Thomas Rohregger, Benjamin King, Ben Hermans and Jan Bakelants

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