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In-form Danielson provides key support for defending champion in the hardest stage stages of this year's Giro

Photo: Sirotti

CHRISTIAN VANDE VELDE

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DAVID MILLAR

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EF PRO CYCLING

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GIRO D'ITALIA

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NATHAN HAAS

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PETER STETINA

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ROBERT HUNTER

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RYDER HESJEDAL

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THOMAS DEKKER

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TOM DANIELSON

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02.05.2013 @ 12:18 Posted by Jesper Johannesen

Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) is ready to defend his 2011 Giro title when he lines up in Naples on Saturday and he will be supported by a strong team that appears to be ready to help their captain in any terrain. An in-form Tom Danielson is a marked improvement from last year's squad and the Canadian seems to have key assistance also in the highest mountains.

 

When Ryder Hesjedal last year took a hugely surprising win in the Giro d'Italia his most important domestique in the mountains was young talent Peter Stetina while veteran Christian Vande Velde stepped up and delivered some crucial chase work on the penultimate stage to the top of the Stelvio climb. With Hesjedal enjoying much more pre-race attention this year his team is expected to take much more responsibility and to meet this the team seems to be ready to deliver the Canadian more support than last year.

 

Besides Stetina and Vande Velde who are back as crucial domestiques in the hardest stages, Hesjedal will be supported by an in-form Tom Danielson. After his 8th place in the 2011 Tour de France, the American had a hugely disappointing 2011 season which culminated with his suspension due to his admissions in the Lance Armstrong case. He was suspended over the winter and returned in the Volta a Catalunya in late March. He immediately put a fantastic form on display and a 10th place in Catalonia and 11th place in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco were followed by a formidable 4th place in last week's Tour de Romandie.

 

Danielson's climbing strength and good form will be crucial as Hesjedal can now expect to have a domestique at his side deep into the final part of the hardest mountain stages and the American will also add some considerable horsepower in the team time trial. The American team won the collective effort last year and David Millar is also part of the squad this year to further increase the team's chances for a repeat triumph.

 

The line-up is completed by Thomas Dekker who still hopes to find back to his best after his comeback and young talents Alex Howes and Nathan Haas while Robert Hunter will defend the team's chances in the sprints. With such an amount of horsepower Hesjedal should be able to start the Giro full of confidence and even though his team does not have the strength of Sky or Astana, the Canadian will certainly be much better supported than he was last year.

 

Garmin-Sharp for the Giro d'Italia:

Ryder Hesjedal, Tom Danielson, Peter Stetina, Christian Vande Velde, David Millar, Thomas Dekker, Robert Hunter, Alex Howes and Nathan Haas

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