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Big 4 Teams announced: Who has the best support?

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Today all four of the major contenders announced their teams and the picture becomes clearer of what we have in store.

Kristof Van Accom/Getty Images

Movistar

- Nairo Quintana
- Alejandro Valverde
- Jose Herrada
- Adriano Malori
- Alex Dowsett
- Gorka Izagirre
- Imanol Erviti
- Winner Anacona
- Jonathan Castroviejo

Conclusion: Someone on Movistar has clearly realized there is a TTT in this race. The message is "Nairo can handle the mountains just fine". Also " We don't care that never-won-the-Tour-and-never-will-Alejandro" is considered trustworthy enough to put in the team without the risk of him screwing up Nairos big opportunity. For their sake I hope they're right and he actually is a tactical asset and not a liability. I'm not doubting Valverde's ability to be a good teammate, I just doubt it in this race with his window on Tour-success closing and him being an ambitious bastard.

Quintana podium Paris

Quintana, swapping his white for yellow in 2015?  (Photo: Getty Images)

Astana

- Vincenzo Nibali
- Jacob Fuglsang
- Lieuwe Westra
- Tanel Kangert
- Michele Scarponi
- Lars Boom
- Andrey Grivko
- Dmitri Gruzdev
- Rein Taaramäe

Conclusion: Another demon squad that incredibly looks head and shoulders above their Giro support. They may need Grivko and Gruzdev to do a lot of hauling on the flats but other than that it's hard to spot a single weakness here. Kangert and Rein are a bit unpredictable in their performances, Miki is 67 years old and is running out of faces? That's about all I can think off.

Team Sky

- Chris Froome
- Richie Porte
- Leopold König
- Wout Poels
- Geraint Thomas
- Ian Stannard
- Nicholas Roche
- Peter Kennaugh
- Luke Rowe

Conclusion: More climber-oriented than Movistar for sure and their TTT might suffer. But this is clearly a team for launching Froome on the climbs in their patented, cycling-killing, multiple-stage-rocket fashion. König might be a bit of a surprise but they didn't sign him for nothing. Interesting to see that they haven't really beefed up their "flatland/first week"-support much after Froome's "fragile" first week last year but guys like Stannard and Rowe should be able to keep him safe.

Tinkoff-Saxo

- Alberto Contador
- Roman Kreuziger
- Michael Rogers
- Ivan Basso
- Rafal Majka
- Peter Sagan
- Daniele Bennati
- Michael Valgren
- Matteo Tossato

Conclusion: Like Movistar, Tinkoff have a potential spoiler in Sagan but odds are he will be in line with the big goal, the Giro/Tour Double, and will be more super-domestique than super-stagewinner. Other than that the big goal will be avoiding double GT-fatigue Conta &co. It's worked out so-so in the past and with 5 riders coming from a very tough Giro it might be a make or break issue. Sky have 2 (Porte & König), Astana 1 (Kangert) and Movistar none. It's a mighty gamble they are taking that old farts like Basso and Tossato have 42 straight GT days (under some heavy pressure) in them and in Basso's case he didn't exactly cover himself in glory in the Giro. The obvious question is if guys like Basso and Kreuziger went into the Giro way undercooked with the aim of being better in the TdF? If not then Contador had better hope Majka is where he was last year or he may well be quite exposed on the mountain stages. Not that he does do to badly in those situations but it does leave him a bit exposed.