Russian veteran Denis Menchov hopes to compete for the yellow jersey in July, jumping into a fray with several other legitimate general classification contenders.
Menchov is often forgotten about when speaking about GC threats, despite the Russian rider previously winning the Vuelta a Espana twice and the Giro d’Italia once. Menchov also finished third at the Tour de France and knows what it takes to compete at the highest level.
Here is what Menchov had to say during the team announcement regarding the hunt for the Maillot Jaune:
"It's a huge responsibility that gives me high motivation. It will be my first big-stage race with the team of my country, so I’ll give my best in order to win. The Tour de France is the only Grand Tour that I still hadn't won; it's not a secret that this year it was my main goal, it would be the crowning achievement of my career, so that's why I look forward to the start.”
With pure climbers such as Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador not racing this year, Menchov, Cadel Evans and Bradley Wiggins—riders often grinding up hills with steady tempos—won’t have to jump into the red zone as often to give chase to a mountain goat.
If Menchov has good form, watch for him to be able to compete during the time trials, as he can put up a great race against the clock.
Prior to the Tour, Menchov has had a quiet season thus far—he abandoned the Tour de Romandie during the first stage and finished 42nd overall during the Criterium du Dauphine.
Joining him on Team Katusha this July will be:
- Oscar Freire
- Vladimir Gusev
- Eduard Vorganov
- Giampaolo Caruso
- Joan Horrach
- Aliaksandr Kuchynski
- Luca Paolini
- Yuriy Trofimov