EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale have named a strong squad around Rigoberto Uran. Uran was 2nd place last year and they believe he can go one better this year. Pierre Rolland, Dani Martinez, Sep Vanmarcke, Simon Clarke, Tom Scully, Taylor Phinney and Lawson Craddock have all been named to achieve this goal and each have roles they can bring to the team.
“The objective is quite simple,” Jonathan Vaughters, the team’s CEO, says. “We start the race trying to win the Tour de France. Is that optimistic and is that pushing the limits of our team? Absolutely. But we were second place last year. We have a little bit stronger team this year, and we have a parcours more suited to Rigo than last year. We have Rigo, who is stronger than he was last year. So we’re going in with the idea of trying to win the race.”
French climber Pierre Rolland is going to be a key rider for Uran. If an opportunity presents itself to win a stage, he will go for it, but first and foremost, the goal is to help Uran.
“Pierre Rolland is going to be a key climbing domestique for Rigo in the Tour. He just finished a great eighth place in the Dauphiné, so we know he’s coming onto some of the best form he’s had in years. We expect him to be right there with Rigo,” Vaughters said.
Young Colombian climber Dani Martinez is going to be a key component for Uran in the team time trial and mountain stages. He is making his debut but he has shown he can climb with the best after nearly winning the Tour of California.
Australian Simon Clarke is going to be the road captain. He can get into breakaways but more importantly has the experience to position everyone right on the road.
Belgian Sep Vanmarcke is going to be important for stage nine over the cobblestones with a wealth of experience on them.
Also making his debut is Kiwi Tom Scully. Scully will be important in the team time trial as well stage nine.
American Taylor Phinney, junior winner of Paris-Roubaix is also going to be important in stage nine as well as the team time trial and keeping Uran safe on the first 9 stages.
Finally, American Lawson Craddock is also going to be strong in the team time trial. He is also handy on the climbs.
Rigoberto Uran (COL)
Pierre Rolland (FRA)
Dani Martinez (COL)
Simon Clarke (AUS)
Sep Vanmarcke (BEL)
Tom Scully (NZL)
Taylor Phinney (USA)
Lawson Craddock (USA)