Lotto-Belisol ambitious for Tours of Oman and Algarve
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Monday, February 13, 2012

Lotto-Belisol ambitious for Tours of Oman and Algarve

by Ben Atkins at 11:41 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Volta ao Algarve, Tour of Oman
 
André Greipel to make his return after illness; Jurgen Van Den Broeck keen to test his time trial skills

andre greipelThe Lotto-Belisol heads into the races of the next week, the Tour of Oman and the Volta ao Algarge, with very different ambitions. German sprinter André Greipel will make his return in Oman, after being forced to sit out last week’s Tour of Qatar through illness; while Jurgen Van Den Broeck, the Belgian team’s Grand Tour hope, will go to the Portuguese race to see how what improvements his winter training has made.

Greipel made a near-perfect start to 2012, and was by far the best sprinter in the Santos Tour Down Under. The German “Gorilla” took three stages, as well as the pre-race Down Under Classic criterium, but fell victim to a stomach virus on his return to Europe. He had been just about to fly out to the Middle East for the Tour of Qatar – which would have seen his first encounter with former teammate, World champion Mark Cavendish (Team Sky) – but this had to be postponed.

He will now join the Lotto-Belisol team for the six-stage Tour of Oman, which starts on Tuesday, February 14th; he will replace Iranian rider Mehdi Sohrabi, who travels for Malaysia for the Asian championships.

“I’m very happy to be back in Oman,” said Greipel. “I got very excited when I saw the races in Qatar. I really wanted to be part of those sprints and I will try to get another win in Oman.”

Meanwhile, in Europe, Van Den Broeck will be starting only his second race of the season, and will be looking to see how his training over the winter has improved his time trialling technique. For the Belgian climber, this has always been his main weakness and, with almost one hundred kilometres against the clock in July’s Tour de France, it has been universally recognised that this is where he needs to improve if he is to have a chance.

“I’ve been working very hard on my time trial bike,” said the Belgian. “I’m very curious to see how I will perform. Hope to beat the clock...”

Van Den Broeck’s first outing of 2012 came in last week’s Trofeo Deià, the third race of the Mallorca Challenge. The five-stage Volta ao Algarve starts on Wednesday, February 15th, with its final stage consisting of a rolling 25.8km time trial for the Belgian climber to test himself.

Lotto-Belisol team for the Tour of Oman (February 14th-19th)
André Greipel, Lars Bak, Greg Henderson, Adam Hansen, Jonas Van Genechten, Frederik Willems, Marcel Sieberg, Jens Debusschere

Lotto-Belisol team for the Volta ao Algarve (February 15th-19th)
Jurgen Van den Broeck, Sander Cordeel, Bart De Clercq, Kenny Dehaes, Frederique Robert, Maarten Neyens, Olivier Kaisen, Gianni Meersman

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