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89th Tour de France - Grand Tour
France, July 6-28, 2002
The teams line up - part four (final)
With the start list more or less finalized for the 2002 Tour, Cyclingnews chief online editor Jeff Jones tips the chances for success of the teams and the roles of their major players.
Fassa Bortolo (Italy)
The Fassa Bortolo squad for the Tour contains a lot of strong riders, but few pure sprinters or climbers. For the GC, Ivan Basso and Wladimir Belli are potential top 20 finishers, with Basso looking for a better Tour than last year when he crashed out and broke his collarbone.
The experienced Fabio Baldato will be the team's road captain, while time trialists Serguei Gontchar and Marco Velo will give the team a solid base for the team time trial. Opportunist sprinter Serguei Ivanov won the Aix-les-Bains stage last year from a three man break, and is quite a capable rider in the transition stages.
In French terms, Bonjour was last year's success story with the gritty François Simon getting in an opportunistic breakaway on Stage 8 that eventually gave him the yellow jersey on Alpe d'Huez (Stage 10). He held it until Stage 13, when Lance Armstrong took it over for good. While Simon will probably not repeat that feat this year, look for the blue Bonjour boys to go in every breakaway they can, as they want the most exposure possible after their sponsor stops at the end of the year.
Didier Rous is their best shot at the GC, finishing 11th overall last year, but young Sylvain Chavanel will also be one to watch, riding in his second Tour. In the sprints, look out for Damien Nazon, the older of the two Nazon sprinters.
Although not quite the same team as it was during the early to mid-90's, when Miguel Indurain ruled the roost, José-Miguel Echávarri's iBanesto.com squad could be one of the real surprises in the 2002 Tour. Packed with climbing talent such as Denis Menchov, Unai Osa, Francisco Mancebo, Santi Blanco and Dariusz Baranowski, the team could play a similar role to Kelme in the mountain stages, and will put extra pressure on US Postal. Menchov won the Mont Ventoux stage of the Dauphine Libéré, and will be considered a threat when the Tour hits the 'geant de Provence', as it's one of the toughest climbs in the Tour.
With their first participation in the Tour de France, Bruno Cenghialta's team should make an impact. They won the team's classification in the Giro d'Italia, and are known for their attacking riding. They have an in form Laurent Dufaux (4th in the Tour de Suisse) as well as Ivan Gotti for the GC. Both riders are very capable climbers, but both riders are not good time trialists which will limit their threat on GC.
The team also has good all rounders, such as Davide Casarotto, Christian Moreni, Aleksandr Shefer and Martin Hvastija, who will be looking at getting in the breaks and trying for stage wins.