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Back Pocket Previews: Silence! Lotto

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Attributes: A roster for all seasons, possibly the most well-rounded team in existence. An almost-prohibitive favorite for the maillot jaune and a maillot vert legend. A quorum of Belgian classics guys. Yaroslav Popovych.

Problems: The peloton's most easily-mocked name (from now on I'm going to yell Silence! like an angry schoolteacher). Lack of depth in July. Leif H\o/ste's arm-waving. Competing with Quick Step for headlines.

Key Rider(s): Popovych, Van Avermaet. The two lieutenants to their Aussie captains (Evans and McEwen) have much to offer. Popovych might be the world's best teammate. Van Avermaet has a rather bright future.

Key Moment: Champs-Elysees. Silence! need to win the Tour. Now or never. End of discussion.

Passing Thought: It's hard to say what their lineup will look like for the Tour of Flanders, but some ideas include Wim Van Huffel, Johan Van Summer Ale, Roy Sentjens, Marten Tjallingii, Greg Van Avermaet, Bert Roesems, Wim Vansevenant... in other words, you could easily roll H\o/ste into a veritable burrito of powerful Cobbledy-goodness and try to really own the race. Quick Step does this. CSC would when possible. Even Lampre had the Benna-Ballan one-two punch which won the race last year. Everyone on the planet expects Quick Step to win, meaning pressure isn't really on the Silence! boys. So why not try some real tactics for a change?