Omega Pharma-Quick Step to Race TDF Without Boonen, Will Ride Aggressively

Michael Hatamoto@MhatamotoContributor IIIJune 13, 2012

ROUBAIX, FRANCE - APRIL 06:  The Omega Pharma- Quick Step team rides on the cobbles during training for the 2012 Paris - Roubaix Cycle Race on April 6, 2012 in Roubaix, France.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Team Omega Pharma-Quick Step has selected its 13-rider short list of potential Tour de France riders, with a good selection of skilled riders hoping to race in France next month.

“The athletes will be chosen next week based on the latest indications that will emerge from an important race like the Tour de Suisse,” according to Sport Director Wilfried Peeters.

Dario Cataldo
Sylvain Chavanel
Gerald Ciolek
Dries Devenyns
Kevin De Weert
Bert Grabsch
Levi Leipheimer
Tony Martin
Jerome Pineau
Gert Steegmans
Matteo Trentin
Stijn Vandenbergh
Peter Velits

I expect the following riders to make the roster:

Martin—Racing in the individual time trials
De Weert

The team plans to disclose the final selection sometime next week.

Omega Pharma-Quick Step is one of the major teams participating in the Tour de France and typically would be active on the flat stages—but Boonen and Chicchi will be on the sidelines, so expect the team to set things up for Leipheimer in the mountains. Also, with more freedom away from the flat stages, some riders will be tasked with jumping into breakaways to help liven up the race.

To date, the team has collected 30 wins so far, including the following prestigious races: Paris-Roubaix, Ronde van Vlaanderen and Gent Wevelgem, along with victories at the Tour of Belgium, Tour of Qatar, and Tour de San Luis. 

Leipheimer suffered a broken fibula after a collision with a car while training, so his form heading into the Tour will be a big question. Unlikely to be an overall general classification contender, the Santa Rosa, California native should try to hang tough on the climbs with the GC riders.