Team Katusha have made something of a surprise announcement with the news that they will be racing a 100% Russian field at this year’s Tour de France which starts on Saturday July 2. This marks the first time in the race’s history that this has happened and means that neither Spain’s Joaquim Rodriguez (eighth in the 2010 Tour) nor Italy’s Filipppo Pozzato will be taking to the saddle for their team.
Team Manager Andrei Tchmil (himself a five-times Tour participant) explains, “Being at the Tour de France is always something to be proud of. But being there with an 100% Russian team represents, in the sporting point of view, an historical event.” Although Tchmil readily agrees that the decision will put the squad “under the spotlight”, his approach remains predictably aggressive: “The main goal, as always, is to be protagonist. Our performance, when we´ll cut the finishing line in Champs Elysees, won´t be judged by wins, but instead by the courage and the commitment we put in every single stage”.
The Team Katusha´s Tour de France 2011 squad is: Pavel Brutt, Denis Galimzyanov, Vladimir Gusev, Mikhail Ignatyev, Vladimir Isaychev, Vladimir Karpets, Alexander Kolobnev, Egor Silin, Yuriy Trofimov. Sport Directors: Dmitriy Konychev, Gennady Mikhailov, Bart Leysen.