Keough aiming for first season win in Ronde Van Drenthe
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Friday, March 9, 2012

Keough aiming for first season win in Ronde Van Drenthe

by VeloNation Press at 7:35 AM EST   comments
Categories: Race Reports and Results
United Healthcare see Boy Van Poppel and Kai Reus as likely protagonists

Jake KeoughHaving gone close to stage wins in the Tour de Langkawi but coming up against an unbeatable Andrea Guardini, American sprinter Jake Keough will seek to improve on the three runner-up slots he clocked up in Malaysia when he competes in the Ronde Van Drenthe. The 1.1 races run today and tomorrow and will see the team back a number of riders, with Keough being the number one if things come down to a gallop.

“With his skills and speed, Jake can make it to the expected thrilling final of this race,” said team director Hendrik Redant, speaking about the American’s 2012 debut in Europe. “Yes, he will be looking to overcome substantial jet lag as he just finished the 10-day Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia on Sunday, but when it comes to a sprint, he is our man.”

Prior to taking a total of five top four placings in Malaysia, Keough was also third and fifth on stages in the Tour de San Luis in Argentina in January, and so he’s been close to a win for some time.

The team’s lineup will also include the Dutchmen Boy van Poppel and Kai Reus, the Americans Chris Jones and Brad White, Australian duo Ben Day and Rory Sutherland, and the South African Jay Thomson.

Although Keough’s sprint will be relied on if a big group comes to the finish, Redant said that the two main protected riders would be the Dutchman. That’s partly due to the fact that they know the course better than others, and also because of their characteristics.

“The Tour of Drenthe is a very particular race favoring the local riders. There are lots of narrow roads and a bunch of cobble sections and in these races it is a big advantage if you know the parcours. Positioning in the peloton is crucial when you begin a cobble section,” he said.

“Our Dutchmen Boy van Poppel, who performed well last year, and Kai Reus will be our leading guys in this race. Boy snapped a second place finish behind world star Robbie McEwen in Singapore last Saturday, so he has the condition. Kai should be a factor although he has just recovered from the flu and is getting back in shape for the upcoming races. Also, Chris Jones is doing really well on these roads, and should also prove to be key for us.”

He added that he saw White and Thomson as two riders who have been riding solidly and could be aggressors early on. Redant also believes that Day and Sutherland should be very valuable due to their experience.

UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling lineup for 2012 Ronde Van Drenthe:

Boy van Poppel (NED)
Kai Reus (NED)
Chris Jones (USA)
Jake Keough (USA)
Ben Day (AUS)
Rory Sutherland (AUS)
Brad White (USA)
Jay Thomson (RSA)


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