MADRID (AFP) –
Former winner Alberto Contador will be supported by his trusty Spanish lieutenants as he bids for a second Tour of Spain title when the Vuelta gets underway in Pamplona on Saturday.
The disgraced rider only returned to action following a two-year doping ban at last week’s Eneco Tour of the Low Countries in which he finished fourth overall.
The 2008 Vuelta winner will be supported in the three-week race by compatriots Jesus Hernandez, Daniel Navarro and Benjamin Noval in the nine-rider Saxo Bank team.
Hernandez, Navarro and Noval were at the 29-year-old’s side when he achieved his last victory at the 2010 Tour de France.
Contador also won the Tour of Italy in 2011 with Hernandez and Navarro, as well as Italy’s Matteo Tosatto but was stripped of both the France and Italy Tour titles following a failed drugs test the previous year.
Britain’s Chris Froome, second behind compatriot Bradley Wiggins in the Tour de France, will lead Team Sky and is expected to be a major contender for the title.
Saxo Bank: Alberto Contador (ESP), Jesus Hernandez (ESP), Rafal Majka (POL), Daniel Navarro (ESP), Benjamin Noval (ESP), Sergio Paulinho (POR), Bruno Pires (POR), Nicki Sorensen (DEN), Matteo Tosatto (ITA)
AG2R: Maxime Bouet (FRA), John Gadret (FRA), Ben Gastauer (LUX), Blel Kadri (FRA), Lloyd Mondory (FRA), Matteo Montaguti (ITA), Rinaldo Nocentini (ITA), Christophe Riblon (FRA), Nicolas Roche (IRL)
BMC: Alessandro Ballan (ITA), Brent Bookwalter (USA), Steve Cummings (GBR), Yannick Eijssen (BEL), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Klaas Lodewyck (BEL), Amaël Moinard (FRA), Steve Morabito (SUI), Mauro Santambrogio (ITA)
Katusha: Pavel Brutt (RUS), Xavier Florencio (ESP), Mikhail Ignatyev (RUS), Alberto Losada (ESP), Denis Menchov (RUS), Daniel Moreno (ESP), Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP), Gatis Smukulis (LET), Angel Vicioso (ESP)
Lotto: Jurgen Van den Broeck (BEL), Jens Debusschere (BEL), Bart De Clercq (BEL), Adam Hansen (AUS), Olivier Kaisen (BEL), Gianni Meersman (BEL), Vicente Reynes (ESP), Joost Van Leijen (NED), Frederik Willems (BEL)
Movistar: Juanjo Cobo (ESP), Jonathan Castroviejo (ESP), Imanol Erviti (ESP), Benat Intxausti (ESP), Pablo Lastras (ESP), Javi Moreno (ESP), Nairo Quintana (COL), José Joaquin Rojas (ESP), Alejandro Valverde (ESP)
Omega Pharma: Dario Cataldo (ITA), Kevin De Weert (BEL), Tony Martin (GER), Serge Pauwels (BEL), Frantisek Rabon (CZE), Gert Steegmans (BEL), Zdenek Stybar (CZE), Niki Terpstra (NED), Kristof Vandewalle (BEL)
Orica: Simon Clarke (AUS), Allan Davis (AUS), Julian Dean (NZL), Mitch Docker (AUS), Cameron Meyer (AUS), Travis Meyer (AUS), Wesley Sulzberger (AUS), Daniel Teklehaimanot (ERY), Pieter Weening (NED)
Team Sky: Chris Froome (GBR), Juan Antonio Flecha (ESP), Sergio Henao (COL), Danny Pate (USA), Richie Porte (AUS), Ian Stannard (GBR), Ben Swift (GBR), Rigoberto Uran (COL), Xabier Zandio (ESP)