“With seven Tour de France stage wins on our five Tours and seven podiums, we really want to work hard and increase that and do our best with the blue train on these stages. There are four opportunities in the first week and one opportunity. for the yellow jersey as in 2016. It’s a special team for a special race and they are special riders. ”
Gibbons and Walscheid will make their Tour de France debuts while Boasson Hagen will complete his tenth Tour and sixth for the South African team. He has won three stages over the years and should aim for the breakaways in the second half of the race with Valgren.
“It’s one of the biggest dreams of any cyclist so being able to do it again is a privilege – I can’t wait. I like the pressure (to be a stage winner) but I think the team is aiming for stages, which include me of course, so hopefully we can work together towards what would be really great ”, said Boasson Hagen.
NTT is also working with Tour de France organizer ASO to create live tracking and data analytics for the race.
That deal has been extended until 2024, but it’s still unclear whether the sponsorship if the team will extend beyond the 2020 season.
Riis predicts huge fight between Ineos and Jumbo-Visma
Bjarne Riis joined NTT Pro Cycling as a team manager in 2020, focusing on the athletic performance of the team. Riis was yet to formally guarantee his 30% stake in the squad in June, but is seen as a key to reversing the squad’s results. He did not participate in the presentation of the Tour de France team but contributed to the selection of the team and is expected to be in Nice for the start of the race on August 29.
Riis won the 1996 Tour de France ahead of his Telekom teammate Jan Ullrich and Festina’s Richard Virenque, but the Dane admitted in 2007 that he had doped for much of his career, including during the 1996 Tour. He led the successful CSC, Saxo Bank and Tinkoff teams and has always denied knowing and promoting doping during his time as a team manager, despite direct allegations from former riders Tyler Hamilton, Jörg Jaksche and Michael Rasmussen.
He returned to WorldTour level with NTT after a four-year absence spent trying to build a new team structure funded by other cycling activities.
“I’m delighted to be back on the Tour, it’s been a while, too long I would say, but I’m looking forward to see if we can deliver some good results for the team,” said Riis.
It’s very exciting (to select the team) but also hard work, it’s difficult to select and especially for those who are missing. But that’s what it is, and it’s part of the job.
“It’s obvious when you look at our roster that we’re going for the stages, that’s going to be our main focus. And then our only guy can be Pozzovivo (in the GC), I know Roman finished 16th last year but we have to see so much can happen before the race. But from the start we won’t be focusing a lot on the GC but rather on the stages, and all kinds of things because we have a team that can play on sprints, massive sprints, intermediate stages and hopefully also a few. mountain steps. ”
Riis observed the recent battles between Team Ineos and Jumbo-Visma at the Criterium du Dauphine and predicted that the difficult race could take its toll. He wants the NTT team to be ready to take advantage of it.
“Everything is to be won in this race. The Dauphiné were very, very hard and some will pay for that, and some will come out better, ”said Riis.
“There’s a huge fight between Jumbo-Visma and Ineos – absolutely – but it’s going to be interesting. A lot of runners have come a long way and will pay for it in the next few days but it’s up to them to decide. What is important is that we take care of ourselves. from our team, do the right things and run smart on the Tour – because for a team like ours it’s important – and save a little for last week because I think this week will be very difficult. Many will suffer and I hope we can save something for it. ”