With only four days to go until the Grand Départ in Rotterdam the 22 teams invited by the ASO to race the 2010 Tour de France have all announced their teams. There's a few surprises along the way with a handful of big names not making it to the start line through injury.
The Green jersey competition is feeling the aftermath of the Tour de Suisse crash that brought down Heinrich Haussler (CTT) and Tom Boonen (QST); both riders have subsequently pulled themselves from the Tour, and King of the Mountains contenders Vincenzo Nibali and Juan Mauricio Soler are also out. If you're playing road.cc's Fantasy Tour de France game, you might want to nip over there and make sure you have a full roster now we've removed all the riders who won't be rolling out of Rotterdam.
AG2r La Mondiale
Rinaldo Nocentini had a fantastic outing last year, with eight stages in Yellow, but a serious break of his leg earlier in the season had him sidelined until the Tour de Suisse. AG2r have stage prospects in the excellent Nicholas Roche and Swiss champ Martin Elmiger, and the rest of the team reads like a who's who of traditional French breakaway riders.
AG2r La Mondiale team: Christophe RIBLON, David LELAY, Dimitri CHAMPION, John GADRET, Lloyd MODORY, Martin ELMIGER, Maxime BOUET, Nicholas ROCHE, Rinaldo NOCENTINI
Astana's team is mostly about Alberto Contador. It doesn't seem likely that there'll be any split loyalties this year; Vinoukourov is a strong rider but Contador is a class above him, and the team is littered with his henchmen. He's still the man to beat in the GC.
Astana team: Alberto CONTADOR, Alexander VINOUKOUROV, Andriy HRYVKO, Benjamin NOVAL, Daniel NAVARRO, David DE LA FUENTE, Jesus HERNANDEZ, Maxim IGLINSKIY, Paolo TIRALONGO
BBox Bouygues Telecom
BBox are bring experienced Thomas Voeckler, who spent ten days in Yellow in 2004 and is on good form again, coming to the tour on the back of a French title. They also have in Pierrick Fédrigo a very accomplished climber who ran in fifth in last year's competition.
BBox Bouygues Telecom team: Anthony CHARTREAU, Cyril GAUTIER, Matthieu SPRICK, Nicolas VOGONDY, Pierre ROLAND, Pierrick FEDRIGO, Sebastien TURGOT, Thomas VOECKLER, Yukiya ARASHIRO
BMC Racing Team
Wildcards BMC are headed up by World Road Race champ Cadel Evans, with the perenially good value George Hincapie – starting his 15th Tour – backing him up. Brent Bookwalter comes into the squad on the back of a strong Giro and he'll be looking to place in the Prologue.
BMC Racing Team: Alessandro BALLAN, Brent BOOKWALTER, Cadel EVANS, George HINCAPIE, Karsten KROON, Marcus BURGHARDT, Mathias FRANK, Mauro SANTAMBROGIO, Steve MORABITO
Caisse are missing climber Juan Mauricio Soler – the KoM winner in 2007 – thanks to a crash at the Criterium du Dauphiné, but they still have a strong squad led by Luis Léon Sanchez and Spanish road champ Ivan Gutiérrez. Christophe Moreau, Like Hincapie of BMC, will be taking the Grand Départ for the fifteenth time.
Caisse d’Epargne team: Christophe MOREAU, Imanol ERVITI, Ivan GUTIERREZ, Jose Joaquin ROJAS GIL, Luis Leon SANCHEZ, Matthieu PERGET, Ruben PLAZA, Rui COSTA, Vasil KIRIYENKA
Cervélo Test Team
Cav may be coming to form, and the Green Jersey competition is missing a couple of big names, but it's still Thor Hushovd you need to beat if you want to win it. The Norwegian's all-round riding was enough to best Cav's faster sprinting last year and it looks set to be a battle between the two of them again in 2010. Carlos Sastre will be hoping for a high GC finish after showing some form in the Giro.
Cervélo Test Team: Andreas KLIER, Brett LANCASTER, Carlos SASTRE, Daniel LLOYD, Ignatas KONOVALOVAS, Jeremy HUNT, Thor HUSHOVD, Volodimir GUSTOV, Xavier FLORENCIO - (withdrawn by team)
Cofidis, le Crédit en ligne
Cofidis are without David Moncoutie, whose sights are set on the Vuelta this year, and the Cofidis squad looks set up to score stage wins rather than put any pressure on the top of the GC. Moinard is possibly their best hope for a high overall finish this year.
Cofidis, le Crédit en ligne team: Armael MOINARD, Christope KERN, Damien MONIER, Julien EL FARES, Rein TAARAMAE, Remi PAURIOL, Samuel DUMOULIN, Sebastien MINARD, Stephane AUGE
Euskaltel – Euskadi
Olympic champ Samuel Sánchez will lead Euskaltel this year and will be hoping to build on decent form that has been built on a second-place finish at last year's Vuelta. The Basque team is, as ever, replete with climbers, with Egoi Martinez a favourite for the polka-dots and Amets Txurruka an outside chance.
Euskaltel – Euskadi team: Alan PEREZ, Amets TXURRUKA, Egoi MARTINEZ, Gorka VERDUGO, Inaki ISASI, Ivan VELASCO, Juan Jose OROZ, Ruben PEREZ, Samuel SANCHEZ
Footon – Servetto
Footon-Servetto take eight newcomers and the experienced Iban Mayo to Rotterdam, and their main threat will be in the mountains competition with Capecchi and Duran also accomplished ascenders. Look for the skin-coloured strip in the breakaways too.
Footon – Servetto team: Arkaitz DURAN, Eros CAPECCHI, Fabio FELLINE, Giampaolo CHEULA, Iban MAYO, Jose Alberto BENITEZ, Manuel CARDOSO, Markus EIBEGGER, Rafael VALLS
Française des Jeux
FDJ, like AG2r, have a squad that's littered with names you'd expect to see in a stage breakaway, although they also have France's two best hopes – based on last year's standings – of a high GC finish in Christophe Le Mevel and Sandy Casar. Remy Di Gregorio is their best bet for the mountains.
Française des Jeux team: Anthony ROUX, Arnaud GERARD, Benoit VAUGRENARD, Christophe LE MEVEL, Jeremy ROY, Mathieu LADAGNOUS, Remy DI GREGORIO, Wesley SULZBERGER, Sandy CASAR
Garmin - Transitions
Garmin have strength in depth this year: as well as a GC contender in Vande Velde and Tyler Farrar hoping to be high on the points table, they have prologue hopefuls in Dave Zabriskie and David Millar plus a fine lead out train for the sprints. Expect them to be doing a lot of work in the peloton this year.
Garmin - Transitions team: Christian VANDE VELDE, David MILLAR, David ZABRISKIE, Johan VANSUMMEREN, Julian DEAN, Martijn MAASKANT, Robert HUNTER, Ryder HESJEDAL, Tyler FARRAR
Will it be the Mark Cavendish show again this year? HTC hope so, and so does much of the UK, but after the Tour de Suisse crash he's certainly not flavour of the month among the pros and he'll have to work hard. There's no doubting he's the fastest in a straight line though, and with a lead out including Bernhard Eisel and Mark Renshaw he'll be there or thereabouts.
Team HTC-Columbia: Adam HANSEN, Bernhard EISEL, Bert GRABSCH, Kanstantin SIUTSOU, Mark CAVENDISH, Mark RENSHAW, Maxime MONFORT, Michael ROGERS, Tony MARTIN
With Filippo Pozzato setting his sights on the Vuelta this year there's a berth for Joaquím Rodríguez at the Tour and the Spaniard is in fine form, coming to Rotterdam on the back of a win in the Volta a Catalunya and a second place in the Flèche-Wallone. Robbie McEwen is back to contest the sprints, although his train lacks the power of some of the bigger Green Jersey contenders.
Katusha Team: Alexandr KOLOBNEV, Alexandre PLIUSCHIN, Eduard VORGANOV, Joaquin RODRIGUEZ, Pavel BRUTT, Robbie MCEWEN, Sergei IVANOV, Stijn VANDENBERGH, Vladimir KARPETS
Lampre – Farnese
Lampre-Farnese are spearheaded by sprinter Alessandro Pettachi and all-rounder/climber Damiano Cunego, who's probably in with a shout of a good finish in the KoM competition although his days as a GC contender are over. Pettachi's train will include Grega Bole and Danilo Hondo, both strong, but his record in the Tour is patchy with only four career stage wins.
Lampre – Farnese team: Adriano MALORI, Alessandro PETACCHI, Damiano CUNEGO, Danilo HONDO, Francesco GAVAZZI, Grega BOLE, Mauro DA DALTO, Mirco LORENZETTO, Simon SPILAK
Liquigas - Doimo
After a solid win in the Giro, Ivan Basso will ride the Tour for the first time since his second-place finish in 2005. There's been a lot of water under the bridge since then, of course, and Basso himself has played down his chances, tipping Contador for victory in 2010. Climber Vincenzo Nibali will be missing from the Liquigas squad, as will Franco Pelizzotti whose biological passport is still under investigation.
Liquigas - Doimo team: Aleksandr KUSCHYNSKI, Brian VANDBORG, Daniel OSS, Francesco BELLOTTI, Ivan BASSO, Kristjan KOREN, Manuel QUINZIATO, Roman KREUZIGER, Sylvester SZMYD
Gerald Ciolek will be looking to build on a strong showing last year which saw him finish third in the points competition behind Hushovd and Cavendish. Linus Gerdemann is the best bet for an overall placing; the German rider was 24th last year but has a couple of stage wins to his name this year, and was 16th overall in the Giro.
Team Milram: Christian KNEES, Fabian WEGMANN, Gerald CIOLEK, Johannes FROHLINGER, Linus GERDEMANN, Luke ROBERTS, Niki TERPSTRA, Roger KLUGE, Thomas ROHREGGER
Omega Pharma – Lotto
Omega are without their top rider Phillipe Gilbert for the Tour this year, he's another one that's aiming for a high placing in the Vuelta. The burden of expectation therefore lies with Jurgen Van Den Broeck, who was fourth overall at the Dauphiné this year and carries some good form to the start line. Australian Matthew Lloyd went home with the mountains jersey at this year's Giro and is in with a shout of a placing.
Omega Pharma – Lotto team: Charly WEGELIUS, Daniel MORENO, Francis DE GREEF, Jurgen ROELANDTS, Jurgen VAN DEN BROECK, Mario AERTS, Matthew LLOYD, Mickael DELAGE, Olivier KAISEN, Sebastian LANG
Quick-Step have lost Tom Boonen to an injury exacerbated by the Tour de Suisse crash that also sidelined Cervelo's Heinrich Haussler. It's a big blow to the team, especially considering Boonen's expertise on the cobbles which would have been useful in the first few days. In his absence Jerome Pineau and Sylvain Chavanel look to be the best bets for a breakaway stage win, Chavanel has managed it before in 2008 and Pineau has a Giro stage in his palmares.
Quick-Step team: Carlos BARREDO, Dries DEVENYNS, Jerome PINEAU, Jurgen van de WALLE, Kevin de WEERT, Kevin SEELDRAEYERS, Maarten WYNANTS, Sylvain CHAVANEL
Denis Menchov is the de facto team leader for Rabobank, with one Giro and two Vuelta wins under his belt, but he'll be pushed by the up and coming Robert Gesink, who won a fantastic breakaway stage in the Tour de Suisse this year. They also bring the ever-dependable Oscar Freire for a chance at the sprints.
Rabobank team: Bram TANKINK, Denis MENCHOV, Grischa NIERMANN, Juan Manuel GARATE, Koos MOERENHOUT, Lars BOOM, Maarten TJALLINGII, Oscar FREIRE, Robert GESINK
This will be Lance Armstrong's final Tour de France and the Texan will be hoping to go out on a high. He's backed by a strong squad that includes Tour stalwarts Levi Leipheimer and Andreas Klöden, as well as Critérium du Dauphiné winner Janez Brajkovic and Chris Horner, who's said he will be Lance's 'guardian angel' in the mountains.
RadioShack team: Andreas KLODEN, Chris HORNER, Dmitriy MURAVYEV, Gregory RAST, Janez BRAJKOVIC, Lance ARMSTRONG, Levi LEIPHEIMER, Sergio PAULINHO, Yaroslav POPOVYCH
Team Saxo Bank
Jack of all trades, master of none? We'll see, but Saxo Bank certainly have riders for every occasion. Cancellara is the man to beat on day one, and the Schleck brothers will be a strong GC presence this year. Chris Anker Sorensen will fancy his chances in the mountains and Stuart O'Grady is always good value in the sprints, although his star is fading a bit now. Plus they have Jens Voigt. The impartial observer's team of choice.
Team Saxo Bank: Andy SCHLECK, Chris Anker SORENSEN, Fabian CANCELLARA, Frank SCHLECK, Jakob FUGLSANG, Jens VOIGT, Matti BRESCHEL, Nicki SORENSEN, Stuart O'GRADY
Wiggo was a revelation last year but he'll be a marked man in 2010 so he'll have to up his game if he wants to top the GC. Edvald Boasson Hagen will be in the hunt for a breakaway win on one of the lumpier stages,
Team Sky: Bradley WIGGINS, Edvald BOASSON HAGEN, Geraint THOMAS, Juan Antonio FLECHA, Michael BARRY, Serge PAUWELS, Simon GERRANS, Steve CUMMINGS, Thomas LOFKVIST
*okay, almost final
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.