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by Shane Stokes
June 1, 2017
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World road race champion Peter Sagan and double Tour de France king of the mountains Rafal Majka have been named as topping a 14-rider long list for the race, with the final selection to be hewn down to nine prior to the start.
Sagan has won seven stages in the Tour de France, as well as taking five consecutive points classifications. Majka has won three stages and was best climber in 2014 and 2016. Both are expected to shine in this year’s race and are logical choices.
The others in the running are German riders Emanuel Buchmann, Marcus Burghardt, Leopold Konig, Christoph Pfingsten, Andreas Schillinger, Michael Schwarzmann and Rüdiger Selig, Sagan’s brother Juraj, the Austrian Patrick Konrad, Poland’s Maciej Bodnar and Pawel Poljanski plus the Australian Jay McCarthy. Amongst those missing is Giro d’Italia stage winner Lukas Pöstlberger and the sprinter Sam Bennett, who took four top-three finishes in the Giro d’Italia.
“It’s always a hard decision, everybody wants to ride the Tour de France,” said team manager Ralph Denk. “Especially this year with the Grand Départ in Düsseldorf, it will be a lifetime memory for every German rider and a stepping stone for German cycling. In our long list, we have 50% riders from Germany, but of course the best riders will be on the start in Düsseldorf at the end. Still I am proud that 7 German riders are on our list today.
“With Peter and Rafal we have ambitious goals, the green jersey, a top five result in the GC and the first stage win for our team at the Tour de France. And I think we have a strong roster to achieve those goals.”