Lotto-Belisol chasing stage victories with strong Vuelta a España line up
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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lotto-Belisol chasing stage victories with strong Vuelta a España line up

by Ben Atkins at 7:48 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
 
Belgian team wants a Spanish stage to go with Giro and Tour victories so far this year

jurgen van den broeckLotto-Belisol has announced its line up for the Vuelta a España, which starts with a team time trial in Pamplona on Saturday, August 18th, with the ambition of chasing stage victories. Although Belgian team’s nine-man roster includes Jurgen Van Den Broeck, who matched his 2010 fourth place in July’s Tour de France, the 29-year-old will not go into the race with any overall ambition.

“Before the start of the season, our goal was to win a stage in each of the three big tours,” said team manager Marc Sergeant. “In the Giro, Lars Bak succeeded and in the Tour we even got three wins with André Greipel. We have the same goals now for the Vuelta.

“With riders like Van den Broeck and [Gianni] Meersman we have a chance,” he explained. “The Vuelta of this year is made for climbers. There are nine uphill finishes, all stages are held to the north of Madrid and the Spanish riders will be very motivated, especially [Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank’s Alberto] Contador and [Karusha’s Joaquim] Rodríguez.”

With Van Den Broeck having based his season around the Tour de France, the Belgian will not be aiming to peak for a second general classification bid. Instead of which, he and the rest of the team will be looking for single-day glory; although Sergeant does not rule out an eventual high ranking for the best Belgian Tour rider for a generation.

“Jurgen Van den Broeck will lead our team, nevertheless our goal is totally different from the Tour,” said Sergeant. “Jurgen keenly focused on the Tour, whereas for the Vuelta it's impossible, physically as well as mentally. He will try to go for a stage win and if, after two weeks, his general ranking might give some possibilities, we can always adjust our goals.

“Gianni Meersman will find some stages right up his alley,” he added. “He was due to abandon quickly in the Giro, but had a good [Tour de Wallonie] and showed he was able to do well on difficult finishes in Paris-Nice.”

As well as its two captains, the Lotto-Belisol team will be built up of a strong mix of youth and experience, with two riders experiencing their very first Grand Tour.

“Adam Hansen will ride his third Grand Tour this year, which is quite unknown in the current peloton,” Sergeant explained. “Adam really likes to race, has a big motor and doesn't get homesick that easy. He asked to ride and revealed himself as a solid helper for Jurgen Van den Broeck. Bart De Clercq will be joining us again, after his pneumothorax; he was out for quite a while, but showed in the Giro to be good in hilly stages.

“Vicente Reynes will be riding in his home country, Frederik Willems wants to prove himself after not being selected for the Tour,” Sergeant continued. “Olivier Kaisen was the most combative rider of the peloton in the Giro; Jens Debusschere and Joost Van Leijen, two rookies, will also start. Jens can stand his ground and Joost is ready for some big work, after some physical injuries in the preseason.”

Lotto Belisol team for la Vuelta a España
Bart De Clercq, Jens Debusschere, Adam Hansen, Olivier Kaisen, Gianni Meersman, Vicente Reynes, Jurgen Van Den Broeck, Joost Van Leijen and Frederik Willems

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