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Tour de France 2008 - Team Barloworld Announced
By Staff
Date: 6/25/2008
Tour de France 2008 - Team Barloworld Announced

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)
Felix Cardenas (Colombia)
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 Bart Hazen

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 over time."

Mauricio Soler Mauricio in the Maillot Blanc Pois Rouges finished as mountain king and 11th on the G.C. Photo

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 team leader..."

Every rider dreams of a great Tour exploit. Which 2008's stage could make your dream reality?

"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 individual TT!"

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."

Team Barloworld

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