Mix of youth and experience for Lotto-Belisol in Tour de Suisse
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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Mix of youth and experience for Lotto-Belisol in Tour de Suisse

by Kyle Moore at 8:20 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de Suisse
Team Type 1-Sanofi looking to make noise in next big showcase

Bart de ClerqWith just two riders normally capable of placing in the top ten of the general classification of a stage race, and both currently racing the Critérium du Dauphiné, Lotto-Belisol will be auditioning a host of young talent in the Tour de Suisse, beginning Saturday.

The other Tour de France preview race gets underway with a 7.3km time trial around Lugano, on the same course as last year. With Jurgen Van Den Broeck and Jelle Vanendert both currently racing in France, Lotto-Belisol heads to Switzerland with several young riders looking to make a splash, and with a few veterans along to guide them.

After being given their leader’s bib number at the Giro d’Italia but failing to make his presence felt at that race, Bart De Clercq will try again, this time in the shorter, less hyped race.

“I think that our team should especially aim for a good ranking for Bart De Clercq,” teram director Bart Leysen said. “The Giro for him was not quite what he expected, but I am convinced that Bart should be able to aim for a place in the top ten. Firstly, he wants to prove to himself that he can do better than what he showed at the Giro, and also the pressure in the Tour de Suisse would be smaller. You often see that a rider can benefit after a short rest from a big tour.”

Along with a number of young riders still learning their way in the professional peloton, Lotto-Belisol will send veterans Olivier Kaisen and Vincente Reynes, in what could be their own tune-up for the Tour de France. If a stage win is to be had, Leysen stressed that knowing when to produce efforts and when to back off would be the key.

“Our team selection has a number of young riders, but the Giro taught us that this does not have to be detrimental,” he insisted. “The intention is that they try to show themselves on certain days, but on days when they are struggling, they should enter the grupetto. If they have ambitions to ever come along to the Tour de France, they must first pass through the difficult journeys such as the Dauphiné, the Tour de Suisse, and the Basque Country.”

Meanwhile, American Pro Continental Team Type 1-Sanofi brings a roster of riders with professional experience and recent good form. Likely leader Julien El Fares had a solid early season, while 21-year-old Georg Preidler is coming off of a third place in the GP Kanton Aargau-Gippingen, having already gained experience in finishing Milan-Sanremo and La Flèche Wallonne.

“We look at the Tour de Suisse as the highest point in our calendar,” team director Vassili Davidenko admitted. “Based on our experience last year we have put together a combination of riders best-suited for the competition, elevation and speed at this race.

“Aleksandr Efimkin split the race apart in [the Philadelphia International Championship] to set up the victory for the team, and Georg Preidler was the instigator of a day-long breakaway that stuck to the end at Gippingen. We also have two French climbers with great experience in Remi Cusin and Julien El Fares, and the wisdom and talent of Lugano-native Rubens Bertogliati. Javier Megias, who has type 1 diabetes, was on the podium in Bretagne last week at a French Cup race, and Alessandro Bazzana is coming back for his second year at the Tour de Suisse. For the many sprints we expect in Switzerland we have the very accomplished Daniele Colli.”

It is primarily youth and ambition for two teams looking for breakaways and stage wins in the Tour de Suisse, from June 9 to June 17.

Lotto-Belisol for the Tour de Suisse:

Gaetan Bille, Sander Cordeel, Bart De Clercq, Olivier Kaisen, Vicente Reynes, Frédérique Robert, Mehdi Sohrabi, Jonas Van Genechten

Team Type 1-Sanofi for the Tour de Suisse:

Alessandro Bazzana, Rubens Bertogliati, Daniele Colli, Remi Cusin, Aleksandr Efimkin, Julien El Fares, Javier Megias, Georg Preidler


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