Paris - Giro d'Italia favourite Alberto Contador looks an even better bet to win successive Grand Tours after his Tinkoff team announced their squad ahead of Saturday's start.
A trident of top-drawer climb talent in the form of double Giro winner (2006 and 2010) Ivan Basso, Czech all-rounder and 2011 Giro white jersey winner Roman Kreuziger and in-form Australian Michael Rogers, winner of two stages on last year's Giro, are charged with delivering Contador to the high summits.
Team director Steven De Jongh on Monday outlined clear roles for the various team members as he read off a strong line-up for the 2015 Italian campaign,
"Rogers is the road manager. With Kreuziger and Basso he will form solid support for Contador in the mountains," he explained.
"Running across the plains we have powerful motors in (Manuele) Boaro, (Matteo) Tosatto and Chris Juul.
"And then over the rolling terrain we have Paulinho, Ivan Rovny and Boaro again."
Spanish climber Contador last won the Giro in 2008 and has won the Tour de France twice and the Vuelta a Espana three times, most recently in 2014.
Last year's Vuelta win saw Contador go head-to-head with Sky's Chris Froome after both had crashed out of the Tour de France.
Neither Froome, reigning champion Nairo Quintana, nor Tour de France champion Vicenzo Nibali are contesting this year's Giro, which makes Contador an even hotter favourite.
The Giro gets underway on Saturday with a team time-trial at San Remo, and there are five mountain and seven medium mountain days on the 21 stages before the Giro rolls into Milan on May 31st.
Tinkoff team for Giro:
Alberto Contador (ESP), Roman Kreuziger (CZE), Michael Rogers (AUS), Ivan Basso (ITA), Sergio Paulinho (POR), Manuele Boaro (ITA), Matteo Tosatto (ITA), Christopher Juul-Jensen (DEN), Ivan Rovny (RUS)