©BORA-hansgrohe / Stiehl Photography

Four newcomers, three Germans, two leaders and one UCI World Champion are ready for the Tour de France. Ahead of the first Grand Depárt in Germany after 30 years, Ralph Denk looks confident into the start of the world’s biggest cycling race.

“I think we proved the last weeks that we are ready for the Grand Départ in Düsseldorf. It is an honor for us, as a German team, to be part of this historical moment for German cycling. 30 years ago, I was in Berlin as a kid, now I am here in Düsseldorf as a Team Manager. To also have the German Champion, Marcus Burghardt, in our rows now means a lot to me. As I said at the beginning of the year, we have ambitious goals for the Tour de France. We want to win a stage and take the Green Jersey with Peter, and we want to take a top five spot in the GC with Rafal Majka.” – Ralph Denk, Team Manager

“Well, now we are here in Düsseldorf and we are ready. My preparations went perfect and also the results the last weeks were quite good. For me this Tour is not just special because we start in Germany and I am with BORA – hansgrohe now, it is also special because I can ride the Tour for the first time with my brother Juraj. This means a lot to me and we will have good fun the next three weeks. We’ll see how the race goes. First we have to do a good time trial, then we think about the sprints.” – Peter Sagan, UCI World Champion

“After my altitude camp in Sierra Nevada the Tour of Slovenia was an important test. Everything went well there and I am confident now also for the Tour. I limited my race days so far, to be still fresh at the start of the Tour de France and I think this can be an advantage in the third week. It is the first time that I prepared for the Tour as a leader, I am happy for this opportunity and now we need to stay focused day by day.” – Rafal Majka

“For me already Saturday will be a big day. I didn’t feel at 100% at the national championships last week, but still I think I am well prepared and for sure I will give it everything I have, in front of our German fans. Then the following stages, we must concentrate on Peter and Rafa, to always keep them in a good position in the bunch.” – Maciej Bodnar

“It almost feels like being in a comfortable position. Last year I was the leader of the team and I felt the pressure. This year I am here to support Rafa. I think I proved at the Daupiné that my shape is very good. Now we’ll have to see how the race develops and which options we’ll have before we hit the mountains. To already feel the atmosphere here in Düsseldorf is very special. It will be a big German cycling party on the weekend.” – Emanuel Buchmann

“It feels great to present the German Champions’ jersey here in Düsseldorf. To take that title was like a dream come true after I had to wait for that moment over a decade. Somehow it feels like being an ambassador for German cycling and it makes me proud to be in this position. Now I will focus on my role in the team as an important helper and I will support Peter and Rafa with everything I have in my legs. But if there is a chance one day, I will be ready to take every opportunity.” – Marcus Burghardt

“I had a very good preparation for my first Tour de France. After California, I stayed with Peter in the US for an altitude camp. In the Tour de Suisse I already felt pretty good. After that I took a little rest but also a few key sessions to sharpen up. Now I am really looking forward to the start. The atmosphere is already great here in Germany, you can feel the people are excited about the Grand Départ.” – Jay McCarthy

“It’s my first Tour de France and I already can feel how big everything is. Everybody told me the first days will be stressful, so we’ll see how the first days go. After California, I had a good training camp with Rafa in Sierra Nevada, after that, I took some rest to be fresh here in Düsseldorf. I think my shape is good and feel well prepared for my first Tour.” – Pawel Poljanski

“I am happy to be here with Peter and I am proud to be able to present my Slovakian national champions’ jersey at my first Tour de France. I will give everything for the team, to support our leaders. It will be a hard and long challenge, but it is also a dream coming true to race in the Tour de France.” – Juraj Sagan

“This is my first Tour de France and I still can’t believe I am here in Düsseldorf now. When you start cycling as a kid, everybody dreams about the Tour. To make the selection in this year, with the start in Germany, it’s overwhelming. I am here to lead-out Peter in the sprints, like I did the whole year for him and Sam. I think I did that quite well so far, but obviously, the Tour will be different and I will have to adapt. But with the World Champion on my side I am not worried about this challenge.” – Rüdiger Selig