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Horner, Zubeldia, Kiserlovski, Busche and Hermans all set to excel on mountainous course while Cancellara heads to Spain to prepare for the world championships

Photo: Sirotti

BEN HERMANS

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CHRISTOPHER HORNER

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FABIAN CANCELLARA

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HAIMAR ZUBELDIA

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MARKEL IRIZAR ARANBURU

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MATTHEW BUSCHE

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TREK - SEGAFREDO

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USA PRO CYCLING CHALLENGE

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VUELTA A ESPAÑA

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YAROSLAV POPOVYCH

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18.08.2013 @ 20:16 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Radioshack will send a team of climbers to the Vuelta a Espana. Chris Horner, Robert Kiserlovski, Haimar Zubeldia, Ben Hermans and Matthew Busche will join forces to make an impression on the mountainous course while Fabian Cancellara will finish his preparation for the world championships by riding the three-week race.

 

With 11 uphill finishes, this year's Vuelta a Espana is extremely mountainous and so it is only fitting that Radioshack has selected a team of climbers for the Spanish grand tour. With no less than 5 potential GC riders in the line-up, the team hopes to use its strength in numbers to finally make it into the top 10 in a grand tour this year.

 

Chris Horner will finally return to European racing at the end of a season that has seen him participate in very few competitions. Having started the season strongly with a 6th place finish in the Tirreno-Adriatico, a knee injury forced to abandon the Volta a Catalunya in late March and those health problems kept him away from competitive action for most of the season, also forcing him to miss the Tour de France.

 

He finally pinned on a number less than two weeks ago when he lined up at the Tour of Utah. By winning the queen stage and finishing 2nd overall, he was surprisingly strong and his performance have seen him head to Spain with plenty of confidence. Having already finished 9th in the 2010 Tour de France, he hopes to once again crack the top 10 in a grand tour.

 

He will line up alongside another veteran. Haimar Zubeldia has finished in the top 10 at the Tour de France no less than 4 times but until now he has had a difficult season. He could only manage 36th in the Tour where he made a mostly anonymous performance. He hasn't raced since the Clasica San Sebastian and now hopes to make amends in his big home race.

 

Robert Kiserlovski was the team's GC rider at the Giro and the Croatian climber made a really strong impression in the first part of the race before fading to 15th in the final week. He has now set his sights on his second grand tour and showed that he is ready by making a very aggressive showing in the Tour de Pologne while also finishing 11th overall.

 

Matthew Busche has been a strong climber in the North American races for a couple of season but he has never managed to bring that strength across the Atlantic. He has only raced one grand tour in the past when he finished 113th in the 2011 Vuelta. With a recent 5th place in the Tour of Utah, he has the form to make an impression on the Spanish climbs.

 

Finally, Ben Hermans is a wild card for the GC. Being more of a punchy rider than a real climber, the Belgian has also performed well in the mountains and recently finished 12th in the very mountainous Tour de Pologne. While he is most likely to target stage wins, a high overall result cannot be ruled out in what will be his second grand tour following the 2012 Giro.

 

The biggest name in the line-up is Fabian Cancellara who skipped the Tour de France to focus solely on the world championships road race. He will use to Spanish grand tour to finish his preparation while also contributing to the team, most notably in the stage one team time trial.

 

Yaroslav Popovych and Markel Irizar will do their usual job of keeping the main riders protected on the flatter and medium mountain stages while classics specialist Gregory Rast will fill a similar role. The team doesn't bring a designated sprinter to the race and will put all its emphasis on the harder stages.

 

The Vuelta kicks off on August 24 with a team time trial in Galica.

 

The USA Pro Challenge

Another part of the team will start the USA Pro Challenge tomorrow. The roster is spearheaded by Andy Schleck who will make his return to competition on the back of a less spectacular Tour de France. Usually not at his best at this time of the season, the Luxembourger is unlikely to contest the GC but could mix it up in  a couple of breakaways.

 

The team's GC riders are likely to be George Bennett and Tiago Machado who both had a strong ride at the recent Tour of Utah, and Andreas Klöden who will pin on a number for the first time since the Tour. Jens Voigt is set to continue his aggressive showing on American soil, having already won a stage in the Tour of California earlier this year.

 

Tony Gallopin will target the sprints as racing recommences after his impressive win at the Clasica San Sebastian. Ben King and Hayden Roulston complete the team and will mostly play support roles.

 

The race starts tomorrow with a flat stage for the sprinters.

 

Radioshack for the Vuelta a Espana

Chris Horner, Robert Kiserlovski, Matthew Busche, Haimar Zubeldia, Ben Hermans, Markel Irizar, Fabian Cancelleara, Gregory Rast and Yaroslav Popovych

 

Radioshack for the USA Pro Challenge

Andy Schleck, Tiago Machado, Andreas Klöden, George Bennett, Tony Gallopin, Jens Voigt, Ben King and Hayden Roulston

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