HTC-HIGHROAD, the number one ranked team in the world, with 46 Grand Tour stage victories and 467 wins in the last 3.5 years, will race for daily stage wins while aiming its developing young GC riders at a Top-10 overall finish in Paris.
Bernhard Eisel will act as road captain for the nine rider team and will pilot sprinters Mark Cavendish (GBr) and Matt Goss (AUS), lead-out extraordinaire Mark Renshaw (AUS), GC riders Tony Martin (GER) and Peter Velits (SLK) and the backbone of the team, super support riders Lars Bak (DEN) and Danny Pate (USA). Young GC hopeful TeJay VanGarderen (USA) will make his Tour De France debut. Notable for Kiwi Fans is the non inclusion of rouler Hayden Roulston, the Cantabrian has had a tough season so far with crashes and illness and is now happy to be racing his bike again. Roulston will no doubt look to the latter season races and aim for a spot in the Vuelta.
"As Cav says, for him it's about winning stages," says Team Manager Rolf Aldag. "He has won 15 TDF stages with us since 2008 and our goal is add to this impressive tally. We believe he is the fastest sprinter in the world and will get the support he's used to with Eisel and Renshaw. We continue a winning formula."
"Eisel is our most experienced guy and our road captain," added Aldag. "He is essential to make crucial decisions in the race and to keep everyone relaxed and confident during the Tour with his leadership and spirit”
"We have adapted our roster to the specific stages of the 2011 course, which include classic-like stages that may deeply challenge pure sprinters, but play to the strengths of Matt Goss. He has won eight races already this year including Milan San Remo and has proven he can win on difficult finishes. He deserves his first start in the Tour de France and will get his chances. He may also be a strong contender for the Green Jersey as the race progresses.
"After winning Paris Nice Tony Martin is ready to be our GC contender. He has realistic hopes of a top ten position in GC and he'll get the support from the team. He already won on the ITT course in Grenoble this year. That will be a strong point for him and we will also rely on him to help power us in the pivotal team time trial on stage two.
Peter Velits brings remarkable versatility to the roster. He was an impressive third place in the Vuelta last year, despite the work he did for Cav in the first week. He could be working hard for Tony and could also show that he can also contend the GC.
"Young Tejay Van Garderen will make his first Tour de France start and we're confident he's ready. Having survived the Vuelta last year in good form he has shown that he is capable of handing a three-week race. He's had an extraordinary season and will be asked to help in the Team Time Trial and to learn as much as he can. His future is in riding GC in grand tours so he'll try to soak up as much experience as he can.
"Finally we have Lars Bak and Danny Pate. Both of these riders are remarkable on their own, but the success we hope to attain will no doubt come from the endless work that these guys will do during the race. They have proven they can ride on the front forever and do it with a smile on their face. They are a vital part of the team and we are proud to race with them in the Tour De France.
“It took us quite a while to come to our final decisions on the team. We have such a strong, balanced roster overall and it’s hard to leave riders like Albasini, Martin Velits, Sivtzov, Rasmussen and Grabsch home.”