Tour de France 2008 - Team Barloworld Announced
Pre-selection of the team of Claudio Corti, 'quietly optimistic' and determined
to do well. Mauricio Soler to lead the team in red.
This year's Tour de France (July 5-27) is rapidly approaching and Team
Barloworld is almost ready for the biggest race of the cycling season. The
excellent results by Team Barloworld in the 2007 Tour de France have raised
expectations for this year's race. Team manager Claudio Corti keeps his feet on
the ground but is quietly optimistic about the team's chances.
"We can't automatically expect to get the same impressive results but we will
be aiming to do even better this year," Corti said. "We won't be considered an
'outsider' this year and will be at the start in Brest determined to do well
throughout the Tour de France."
The Team Barloworld line-up for the Tour de France is almost complete and
will be confirmed after the Ster Elektrotoer stage race in Holland that starts
on Tuesday and ends on Saturday. It is Team Barloworld's final test before the
start of the Tour de France on July 5.
The following riders have been pre-selected for the Tour de France:
Team Barloworld 2008 Tour Squad
Mauricio Soler (Colombia)
Robert Hunter (South Africa)
Baden Cooke (Australia)
Paolo Longo Borghini (Italy)
Moises Duenas Nevado (Spain)
Gianpaolo Cheula (Italy)
John-Lee Augustyn (South Africa)
Christopher Froome (Kenya).
The reserves are: Hugo Sabido (Portugal) and Diego Caccia (Italy).
It is a competitive line-up, well balanced and able to get results in both
the flat stages early in the race and on the high mountains, where Mauricio
Soler hopes to confirm his results of last year when he won a stage and the
polka-dot climber's jersey on the final podium in Paris.
Mauricio Soler Photo © 2008
Soler was very unlucky at the Giro d'Italia and was forced to retire because
of a micro-fracture in his wrist. Mauricio is currently in Colombia and is
training intensely at altitude. (6/19/08)
"We're constantly in touch with him and we know that the injury to his wrist
is still causing him some problems," Corti explained. "However medical
specialists told us that the complete healing of the bone only occurs after 40
days and so it is normal that he still feels some pain. The pain should ease
Mauricio Soler Mauricio in the Maillot Blanc à Pois Rouges finished as mountain
king and 11th on the G.C.
Photo © www.benrossphotography.com
Soler will travel to Italy on June 26 and the Team Barloworld technical staff
have already planned special training sessions for him. He will do
specific work behind a motorbike to replicate the speed of races and will be
closely followed by directeur sportives Alberto Volpi
and Valerio Tebaldi so that he
can be at his very best for the Tour de France.
Spotlight on Christopher Froome
Despite being only 23 years old, Chris could make his debut at Tour de France
next July. He started cycling "just for fun" when he was a child in Kenya, and
now, as a professional, his dream with Team Barloworld will probably come true.
Let's find out how he lives on the eve of the event.
Chris, you could be in the Team Barloworld's line-up
for next July's Tour de France for the first time. How are you doing?
"The time preceding the Tour is a critical in order to set up your shape with
hard training and possibly even spend some time at altitude to get the body into
peak condition for the Tour."
Which role will you play in the French stage race at Soler's side?
"I think Soler has a great chance of being in overall contention for the
leader's jersey at the Tour, and in order to do that he will need the rest of
the team to help and support him as much as possible. My personal role will
probably be to help him as much as I can on the climbs. However every stage
brings new surprises and you never know when you will be required to help your
Every rider dreams of a great Tour exploit. Which 2008's stage could make your
"I dream of being able to set a good time in the long time trial of the Tour. To
me that is the ultimate test, having to ride nearly 60 km individually, at speed
average close to 50 kmh. There is no where to hide when you are doing an
Will you bring any lucky charms with you at the Tour de France?
"No lucky charms but I recently lost my mother this year. Since then I like to
think that she is watching over me whenever I race."
You started the 2008 season with a good 2nd place in the overall
classification of the Cape Tour (Rsa). What are your main goals for the season,
apart from the Tour?
"My main goals this year are not purely based on results (even though it's
always great to get a good result!) but rather to look at the bigger picture and
develop properly as a professional cyclist. After this year I hope to have
bridged the gap from riding at an amateur level to a professional level. I think
riding a Grand Tour will definitely have helped the process. If everything goes
the right way, I am also planning to take part in the Olympics later this year."
Going back to your past, how did you approach cycling? And when did you
understand you could be a professional?
"I first started cycling 'just for fun' in Kenya. When I moved to South Africa
as a teenager I entered many amateur races and found out that I enjoyed it and
performed quite well. One thing led to another and I started racing more
seriously. Since then it was my dream to be a top professional in the big tours
and to this day I'm still chasing that dream..."
This is your first year in Team Barloworld. Did the
calm and professional
team's atmosphere make your insertion easier?
"Definitely! It's great to be part of such a supportive team, where people
understand I am still young and my prime time as a cyclist is still to come. I
also enjoy how multi national the team is and all the learning which comes with
that as well."
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