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Tour de France 2008 - Team CSC Saxo Bank
By Staff
Date: 6/23/2008
Tour de France 2008 - Team CSC Saxo Bank

Tour de France 2008 - Team CSC Saxo Bank
Team CSC Saxo Bank Announces Tour team - Bjarne Riis brings his "A" team to support Carlos Sastre with high ambitions for the podium.

Strong Team CSC Saxo Bank for the Tour
Team CSC Saxo Bank brings a strong and balanced team for the 2008 Tour de France. A run at the top-three podium and a healthy harvest of stage victories are the team's underlying goals going into the season's most important race.

“I think we could have taken two teams to the Tour de France, with so many good riders to choose from,” said Team CSC Saxo Bank manager Bjarne Riis to “We have taken the nine sharpest riders and we hope we can meet our ambitions with them.”

Team CSC Saxo Bank will be hunting for a spot on the top-three podium, led by Spanish climber and team captain, Carlos Sastre.

Sastre, who has finished five times among the Tour's top 10, will bring his climbing legs to full force in the 21-stage Tour that begins July 5 in Brest in northwest France.

Carlos Sastre, Liège-Bastogne-Liège team presentation. Photo © 2008 Bart Hazen

“I will arrive at the Tour in the best possible form and aim for the Tour podium, and why not, maybe we can even win if things go our way,” Sastre said earlier this season. “What's most important is to be in the best strength as I can be, then everything else will fall into place. I'm not worried about the others.”

Team CSC Saxo Bank will have a podium alternative with Fränk and Andy Schleck. The Luxembourg-based brothers will be the second option for Team CSC if Sastre falters.

“With Sastre and the two Schleck brothers, we have three riders who can sit among the best in the mountains and it will be extremely exciting to see how far they can go,” Riis said. “I think we have a team that can be a factor in just about everything. With the results we've shown the past month, I am sure we're bring a top-motivated team and we can look forward to the year's main goal.”

Dangerous duo: the brothers Schleck Frank & Andy Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Fränk - twice in the top 20 and winner of the Alpe d'Huez stage in 2006 — says he's not seriously injured despite a dreadful crash in stage 5 at the Tour de Suisse last week when he flipped over a guardrail into a gorge.

Andy will be making his Tour debut this year after finishing second in last year's Giro d'Italia and sixth at the Tour du Suisse on Sunday.

“After last year's Giro, I learned that I could be good for three weeks. I take those lessons and will apply them to try to win the Tour someday,” Andy said. “Carlos is the captain, everyone knows that. But everyone also knows that Fränk and I won't be the first ones going back to the team car to fetch water bottles.”

Supporting Sastre and the Schleck brothers will be an all-star crew that includes Tour stage-winners Fabian Cancellara, Jens Voigt and Stuart O'Grady.

Fabian Cancellara - Stage 7 Tour de Suisse podium portrait.
Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Unfortunately for Cancellara, there's no opening prologue in this year's Tour, but he'll take chances with well-timed, last-stage attacks, just like he did to win two stages last week at the Swiss tour.

The ever-popular Voigt will be back to energize the Tour with his infamous attacks while O'Grady, back at full health after surviving a harrowing spill in last year's Tour, will also be looking to on the attack.

Nicki Sørensen, Kurt-Asle Arvesen and Volodymir Gustov will provide essential support for the team leaders and be ready to take a chance at a stage victory when the opportunity presents itself.

Team CSC Saxo Bank
2008 Tour de France Squad
Fabian Cancellara (Swi)
Carlos Sastre (Spa)
Andy Schleck (Lux)
Fränk Schleck (Lux)
Nicki Sørensen (Den)
Jens Voigt (Ger)
Stuart O'Grady (Aus)
Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor)
Volodymir Gustov (Ukr)

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