Team RadioShack-Nissan-Trek Announces Preliminary Start List, Snubs Chris Horner

Michael HatamotoContributor IIIJune 11, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 20:  Team Radioshack Nissan Trek takes the podium after stage eight as they earned the fastest team award in the Amgen Tour of California from Beverly Hills to Los Angeles on May 20, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Team RadioShack-Nissan-Trek has selected 14 riders in a preliminary Tour de France race roster, which will be trimmed down to nine riders the week of June 18.

Here is the preliminary roster:

Fabian Cancellara
Jakob Fuglsang
Andy Schleck
Frank Schleck
Tony Gallopin
Linus Gerdemann
Markel Irizar
Andreas Klöden
Maxime Monfort
Yaroslav Popovych
Gregory Rast
Hayden Roulston
Jens Voigt
Haimar Zubeldia

I predict the following nine will be included on the team:

Andy Schleck
Frank Schleck
Fabian Cancellara
Jens Voigt
Jakob Fuglsang
Yaroslav Popovych
Andreas Klöden
Haimar Zubeldia
Linus Gerdemann

PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 24:  Yellow Jersey winner Cadel Evans (C) of team BMC celebrates with Andy Schleck (L) and Frank Schleck of team Leopard Trek on the podium after the twenty first and final stage of Le Tour de France 2011, from Creteil to the Champs-E
Michael Steele/Getty Images

Notably left off the list:  US rider Chris Horner, a strong time trialist and quality climber.  I’m disappointed he won’t be able to help as a super domestique for the Schleck brothers, with the decision already causing some controversy.

“Already at California, his back was not okay,” Philippe Maertens, Team press officer, said of Horner in a statement to VeloNews.  “That is also the reason why he is not in the Tour de Suisse this week.  Without racing Swiss, it would be impossible for him to in the Tour de France.”

If Horner’s back actually is the cause of the exemption, that makes sense—but there are rumors that internal team politics may have played a bigger role in the decision.

The team will be built around helping one of the Schleck brothers—most likely Andy—try and reach the top step of the podium in Paris.  Once the race starts heading uphill, Team RadioShack-Nissan-Trek is one of the strong teams that will be tasked with controlling breakaways and the tempo of the peloton.