Saunier Duval – Tour de France Squad
Saunier Duval have announced their final selection for the Tour de France 2005.
Following his dramatic stage win in the Tour de Suisse and high Overall placing in that race Chris Horner has been selected for the team. Another first time Tour rider is Juan Manuel Garate, who was very strong in this years Giro d'Italia in May. Supporting Garate’s quest for a high GC finish will be the Italian climber Leonardo Piepoli who will also be stage hunting.
As expected the team selected hopes to run a mock in the mountains, but road captain David Canada will be calling on the services of Nicolas Fritsch, Manuel Quinziato and
Constantino Zaballa to give the team some back bone when the road is not going up hill.
The team –
Juan Manuel Garate
José Angel Gómez Marchante
Garate – Looking to impress
Garate in lampre colours on the famous Gotthard Pass in the 2001 Tour de Suisse, photo courtesy of lampre caffita. The cobbled climb was used again in the 2005 Tour de Suisse on the last stage. Horner and Piepoli had to work together to pull back time on Kodol Gil , while Gomez also impressed with his attacking riding in the mountains.
Garate, who rather unusually has ridden in Italian teams throughout his career returned home this year to the Red Bird team of Saunier Duval. He contemplates the Tour and other things in this small interview on the Saunier Duval web page –
What are your aspirations for the Tour de France?
This will be the first time I participate in the Tour de France, and I´m determined to take as many points as possible for the GC and, why not, I also dream of bagging a stage victory! At least, I hope to be able to break away and build some solid lead!
What´s your assessment of your career right now?
Well, I´m 28 and I´ve gained quite a lot of experience. But most importantly, I feel motivated to go on fighting. I think this is the time to achieve great things in my life. I´ve focused on the Grand Tours; this year, my goals are to do a good business at the Giro d´Italia and to improve my GC standing (he did finishing 5th as opposed to 10th in 2004. However his best ever finish in the Giro was in 2002 when he finished 4th)
How do you feel as part of the SAUNIER DUVAL-PRODIR team?
I badly needed a change, and now I feel good in this team, full of young and kind people. We work together in a warm and pleasant atmosphere, which makes me happy and motivates me to pass on my experience to younger riders.
28-year-old rider Juan Manuel Gárate won a stage of the Vuelta a España in 2001, a stage of the Tour de Swiss in 2002, and he came in 4th in the 2002 edition of the Giro d´Italia. This year, he will participate in the Tour de France for the first time. Juan Manuel is one of the team´s driving forces, with an enthusiastic and encouraging personality as well as a very long experience.