Tour de France 2007 - Team Previews: Saunier Duval
The Saunier Duval-Prodir team will start with a very mixed and talented team
in the Tour de France. The team is very attractive and these riders won't make
the Tour boring during the next three weeks.
By Bart Hazen
The Saunier Duval-Prodir team will start with a very mixed team in
the Tour de France. After the withdrawal of José Angel Gomez Marchante
due to an illness, he is replaced by David Canada, the team has no real GC contender.
But the team is strong enough to go for stage wins.
In a press release, the team said about Marchante:
"Lately, Gómez Marchante has been going through a period of exacerbated
symptoms of ulcerative colitis, a form of the inflammatory bowel disease -IDB-
he´s been suffering for three years now. The main symptom of this intermittent
disease involving inflammation of the colon is usually diarrhoea mixed with
blood. The most recent symptoms were triggered during the final stages of the
Tour of Switzerland, and the team were extremely worried about this. The rider
is undergoing medical treatment, and his doctors recommended higher doses of
medication and will perform further tests on Wednesday -a colonoscopy and a
study to identify cell markers."
The rider and the team expected that he will be back for the Vuelta Ciclista
Anyway back to the team for the Tour now. With David Millar they have
immediately a rider for the prologue on Saturday. David is a British rider and
wants to do well on home soil. He reconnoitered the prologue several times and
knows the course very well. Thus far he won the prologue in Paris-Nice and was
2nd in the time trial of the four days of the Panne.
There are also rumors that David Millar is going to sign for Team Slipstream,
the team of Jonathan Vaughters. This team wants to go to the Tour de France
and it seems that David Zabriskie, David Millar, Martijn Maaskant, Marcus Burghardt,
David Canada, Jerome Pineau and Thomas Voeckler are candidates for this team.
Christophe Laurent of Credit Agricole signed already. Millar announced, just
as Canada, that they will announce their future plans after the Tour de France.
David Millar will be one of the team captains in the Tour de France.
c. Bart Hazen
The sprinter of the team is Francisco Ventoso. Ventoso will lineup
for his second Tour de France. Last year he won a stage in the Vuelta D'Espana
and showed his great potential. This year he won three stages in Castilla y
Leon and finished 4th in Gent-Wevelgem. Further he finished five times as second
(Trofeo Calvia, Stage 5 in Paris-Nice, Stage 1 and 2 in the Vuelta a Asturias
and in Stage 2 of the Ruta del Sol). As you can see Francisco has lots of potential
and wants to show that on the highest platform in cycling, the Tour de France.
The next one to be introduced is their French rider, Christophe Rinero.
Rinero we know from the Tour in 1998 where he won the polka dot jersey of the
best climber. Last year he finished as 41st in the Tour de France. Thus far
in this season he didn't has any remarkable results but ofcourse we will see
him back in some breakaways during the Tour.
Iban Mayo, has a hate/love affair with the Tour de France. In 2003 he
won the stage to Alpe D'Huez and finished 6th in the Tour. Since than he didn't
completed the Tour anymore except of 2005 where he finished as 60th. If Mayo
finds his legs from 2003 again he can achieve great things for the team, but
the team will already be satisfied if Iban can win at least one stage. Thus
far in this season he showed his potential once again by winning the 19th stage
in the Giro D'Italia.
Iker Camano came to Saunier Duval together with Iban Mayo. They both
switched from Euskaltel to the redbird team of Mauro Gianetti. Camano will lineup
for his fourth Tour de France. He was 26th and 35th once in the final ranking
of the Tour. Camano will be a domestic rider in the mountains for the team.
Iker Camano and Juan José Cobo.
c. Bart Hazen
Juan José Cobo Acebo, is one of the surprises of
the spring season by winning two stages and the final ranking of the Volta a
Pais Vasco. Also in the Ardennes Classic he showed his great form by finishing
9th in Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Cobo will lineup in London for his first Tour
de France. If Cobo can find his legs from the Pais Vasco again he can do well
in the GC too because he can climb very well and has a good time trial.
Ruben Lobato will line up for his second Tour de France. Last year he
was 46th while helping the others in the team. He is especially a main domestic
rider in the mountains.
David de la Fuente won the GP Llodio earlier this year and finished
as 10th in the road race of the Spanish Championships. Last year De La Fuente,
who will lineup for his second Tour de France, finished 56th and won the prize
for the most combative rider. He also finished as 4th in the young rider classification.
David will once again show his potential and hunt for stage wins, it would be
no surprise if he will win the prize of the most combative rider once again.
David de la Fuente won the prize of the most combative rider in the Tour
of 2006. Photo
c. Bart Hazen
Last but not least we have David Canada. David Canada is the replacement
of José Angel Gomez Marchante. As we mentioned before Marchante won't
start due to an illness. In preparation on the Tour, Canada completed the Giro
D'Italia already and did a great job for Gilberto Simoni, Riccardo Ricco and
Leonardo Piepoli. Further Canada finished as 3rd in the Tour de Georgia and
rode well at the Spanish nationals. In the coming Tour Canada will be a domestic
rider and can do well for Ventoso in the flat stages as for the leaders of the
team in the mountains. Because Saunier Duval-Prodir is a team of adventurers,
it wouldn't surprise if we see him in breaks as well.
The Saunier Duval - Prodir roster for the Tour de France:
David Canada Gracia (Spa)
Iker Camano Ortuzar (Spa)
Juan José Cobo Acebo (Spa)
David de la Fuente Rasilla (Spa)
Ruben Lobato Elvira (Spa)
Iban Mayo Diez (Spa)
David Millar (GBr)
Christophe Rinero (Fra)
Francisco Ventoso Alberdi (Spa)