2007 Tour de France - Team CSC Preview
The Pro Tours Number One Team ready for the challenge with no shortage of arrows
in the quiver of the team for stage wins and an assault on the G.C.
By: Andrew Kappes
Could we expect anything else from CSC the Pro Tour's number one team but a
loaded squad? It seems that the team once again draws from their strong roster
and brings another boatload of fast legs to le Tour. The team will
features two possible GC contenders in Carlos Sastre and Fränk Schleck ably
supported with strong men putting them in the short list of G.C. contenders with
Astana, Discovery Channel and Caisse d'Epargne.
Tour de France Squad
Christian Vande Velde
Carlos Sastre and Fränk Schleck are co-leaders for CSC going into the Tour.
Sastre is a grand tour veteran, he participated in all three last year,
finishing fourth at the Tour de France. He hasn't had any great results so far
this season, but his schedule was built to prepare just for cycling's biggest
race. He should make a strong run for the podium, but he may not be the only CSC
rider on it after 21 days.
Carlos Sastre Stage 16 2006 Tour de France
Photo c. Ben Ross
Frank Schleck is back after winning on Alpe D'Huez in last year's Tour de
France. Schleck's younger brother Andy may have received most of the press so
far this year after his earth shaking performance in the Giro d'Italia; but
Frank can easily change that in the Tour. He has had success so far, with top
ten finishes in Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Fleche Wallone, Amstel Gold Race, Tour de
Suisse, and Paris-Nice.
Victory Frank Schleck Alpe d'Huez Photo c. Fotoreporter
The always entertaining Dave Zabriskie will also bear the CSC colors at this
year's Tour, and he will proudly wear the American individual time trial
champion's jersey on the prologue and two time trials. He has been a staple in
American cycling for the past four years, and yet he is only 28. Everyone knows
he will be gunning for the prologue and two individual time trials in this
year's Tour. However, Dave Z shocked everyone, perhaps himself even, when he
finished fifth overall at last month's Dauphine Libere. Expect Dave Z to battle
it out with teammate Fabian Cancellara for a time trial stage victory and CSC to
once again dominate the time trial standings.
David Zabriskie in the USA TT champs jersey in le Dauphine.
Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti
As podofdonny said in his after Dauphine comments: "David Zabriskie was a bit
of a revelation. He has obviously been working hard on the climbs and this
effort may have affected his abilities against the clock slightly. No matter, if
you are a natural man against the clock and have learned to ride with the best
in the mountains you have a good chance in the Tour, or any other stage race for
"A dark horse, he has experienced the pressure of a Tour de France stage
victory in the past and has shown grinta over this week – could well be the
highest overall rider from the USA this year. He seems also to have found an
ideal lieutenant in Volodimir Gustov, who was outstanding in support throughout
the race, but is unfortunately not short listed for the Tour."
Speaking of Fabian, the World and Swiss time trial champion will also be
suiting up for the tour. It has been made known he has had the London prologue
circled on his calendar since it was announced months ago. He made his home
nation proud a few weeks ago at the Tour de Suisse, he won the first and last
stages, both time trials. It's not known if Cancellara will bow out early like
he did in the Giro, but one thing's for sure, he will be the man to beat on the
time trial and after his homeland tour he looks to be a survivor in Paris.
Although Aussie Stuart O'Grady can contest the sprints he says he will take
the vital role of faithful lieutenant and escort for the team leaders this year.
'Stuey' has already found success in France this year, he won the coveted
Paris-Roubaix in April; the first for an Aussie rider. He also finished fifth in
March's Milan-San Remo. Stuart has been known to kick the peloton up a few
kilometers per hour in a lead-out to set up for a sprint stage win, don't be
surprised if he takes a stage if the opportunity presents itself.
In addition to the aforementioned riders, CSC will field the talents of Jens
Voigt in support and in the hunt to add another stage to his tour palmares, add
in Zabriskies fellow country man Christian Vandeveld, Kurt-Asle Arvesen capable
of a stage win and Inigo Cuesta to help Schleck and Sastre in the mountains and
CSC looks poised to win another team competition, and we may find a rider
wearing yellow on the ride into Paris.