Vacansoleil-DCM Tour de France team spearheaded by Wout Poels and Lieuwe Westra
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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Vacansoleil-DCM Tour de France team spearheaded by Wout Poels and Lieuwe Westra

by Ben Atkins at 10:35 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Kenny van Hummel aiming at sprint stages; Stijn Devolder misses out once again

wout poelsAfter sending a veritable United Nations to the Giro d’Italia, the Vacansoleil-DCM team for next month’s Tour de France is a far more Dutch affair. Giro third place Belgian Thomas De Gendt sits out the Tour in favour of a tilt at the Vuelta a España later in the year, and his leadership duties will be assumed by the Dutch pair of Tour de Luxembourg runner up Wout Poels, and newly crowned national time trial champion Lieuwe Westra. Neither will be chasing the final podium however, but the team’s main aim will be to complete its set of stage victories at all three Grand Tours.

“We’ve done another step forward,” said directeur sportif Hilaire Van der Schueren. “That’s why our line-up is a little bit different in comparison with last year. During the Tour we would like to show our next improvement. The classifications and jerseys are not our main goals. We want to win a stage again, like we did in the Giro d’Italia and earlier in the Vuelta.”

The Dutch theme continues through the team, as sprinter Kenny van Hummel gets to start his second Tour, ahead of struggling Frenchman Romain Feillu, and all rounder Rob Ruijgh will also start his second, having finished 20th in his debut last year.

The fifth Dutchman will be Johnny “barbed wire” Hoogerland, who was the unwilling hero of last year’s race, after he was thrown into a barbed wire fence during the stage between Issoire and Saint-Flour as a French TV car hit breakaway companion Juan Antonio Flecha. Despite having his shorts torn off him, and receiving several deep cuts to his legs and buttocks, the ever-attacking Dutchman finished the race, and even managed to feature in later breakaways.

In the absence of De Gendt and Devolder, the team’s lone Belgian will be 25-year-old sprinter Kris Boeckmans, who will partner van Hummel in the flat stages. Marco Marcato and Rafa Valls will add a little Italian and Spanish flavour to the team respectively, while Paris-Nice prologue winner Gustav Larsson will doubtless be aiming at the Liège test, as well as working hard for his teammates on the flatter stages.

“We want to improve every time,” said operational manager Jean-Paul van Poppel. “You should never be satisfied, that’s our secret.”

Former sprinter Van Poppel himself will reconnoitre each stage by car before the race begins.

Vacansoleil-DCM team for the Tour de France
Kris Boeckmans, Johnny Hoogerland, Kenny van Hummel, Gustav Larsson, Marco Marcato, Wout Poels, Rob Ruijgh, Rafael Valls and Lieuwe Westra


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