Van den Broeck determined, but avoids making predictions on eve of Tour de France
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Friday, June 29, 2012

Van den Broeck determined, but avoids making predictions on eve of Tour de France

by Shane Stokes at 2:05 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Belgian rider returns two years after taking fourth overall

Jurgen Van den BroeckWhile most commentators focus on a Wiggins-Evans dual for the Tour de France crown, Belgian hope Jurgen Van den Broeck has been quietly preparing for a very important race for him.

The Lotto Belisol rider has been largely flying under the radar thus far, but must be regarded as a danger man for the race. He improved considerably between his first and second Tours, going from fifteenth in 2009 to fourth in 2010, and while a crash last year interrupted his progression, he’s worked hard to be ready for this year’s edition.

Van den Broeck once again spent time at altitude this year, but has also picked up third overall in the Volta a Catalunya and fifth in the Critérium du Dauphiné. He’s focused completely on the Tour and if he has got his training right, could be one of the top names over the next three weeks.

However, at this point in time, he admits that he’s not quite sure what to expect.

“Currently I can't predict where I will finish,” he said. “We will aim at the best place possible, and we did everything we could up to now. I don't want to have the feeling afterwards that I haven't given everything I could because I wasn't able to give 100 percent. I might finish eighth and have to conclude that was the highest place possible."

Van den Broeck’s approach is a wise one, in that his acceptance that the race will reveal how he is going rids him of the pressure of claiming a certain performance is in store.

In telling people to keep an open mind, he’s not making any big promises. And so if he does achieve, the performance will be hailed to a greater extent than if he had made bold claims beforehand.

“I know predictions have been made and that my chances might be real, but that doesn't make me go any faster. I don't think about that,” he said, explaining how he is deflecting pressure. “The Tour is mapped in my head, I know each important stroke and I have evolved in the time trials. Those are facts that I can be sure off. Who will be my opponents, how many there will be and how fast they will go, I can't predict, and not even manage.”

The Lotto Belisol team has gone for a balance between the general classification and sprint stages. The latter will be targeted by Andre Greipel, who will have the support of Greg Henderson, Marcel Sieberg and Jürgen Roelandts in the leadouts, while the former will see Van den Broeck and Jelle Vanendert ride as well as possible overall.

The team will be completed by allrounders Lars Bak, Adam Hansen and Francis De Greef, who will be able to give important support Van den Broeck if things work out as he hopes for the general classification.


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