Robert Wagner and David Tanner to strengthen Rabobank sprint train
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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Robert Wagner and David Tanner to strengthen Rabobank sprint train

by Ben Atkins at 1:53 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Half-Dutch German and Australian to get behind Theo Bos and Mark Renshaw in 2013

david tannerAlthough it is looking to go increasingly Dutch with its big stars, Rabobank has gone international in its acquisitions for 2013 in the shape of German Robert Wagner and Australian David Tanner. The two new riders - who are currently with RadioShack-Nissan and Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank respectively - are being brought in to strengthen the team’s sprint train, which is based around former multiple track World champion Theo Bos.

Wagner [who is sadly not related to his Hollywood namesake, the star of Hart to Hart - ed] is actually half Dutch, and is married to a Dutchwoman. He previously spent three years at Dutch Professional Continental Team Skil-Shimano [now Argos-Shimano - ed], before he joined Leopard Trek in 2011, and is looking forward to getting back to the Dutch atmosphere at Rabobank.

“At Skil-Shimano I had Merijn Zeeman for my coach and we clicked,” he said. “I think that the restructuring they’re doing and that the role that Zeeman is playing is very good. That’s how you have to do things nowadays. So I’m glad to be working with him again.”

While he has a good sprint himself, the 29-year-old 2011 German champion knows exactly what his role will be at his new team.

“I know what I can do; I am by my nature more of a helper,” he said. “I mean, I actually pipped Theo once. But that just was on one of the two or three days in a year on which everything clicked. As a sprinter, you always have to be a killer. You have to have way more of those days in a year. Theo has shown that he can regularly win.”

Tanner (pictured) has been with his current team since 2011; he is suited to a number of the hillier races on the calendar, including the Ardennes Classics and the recent WorldTour races in Canada. He finished 19th in the GP de Québec, but this kind of thing will not be his main task at Rabobank.

“My most important role will be supporting the sprinters, Theo Bos and Mark Renshaw”, he pointed out. “At SaxoBank I filled in the leadout role for [Baden] Cooke, [Juan Jose] Haedo, and [Jonathan] Cantwell. It’ll be nice to take that up to the next level.”

As well as his good result in Québec, Tanner also took 23rd in the GP Plouay, where he will also be able to perform for his new team.

“Those races suit me, I always feel good there,” he said. “I can serve the team well there, but the most important thing is the leadout train. I’ve spoken to Mark and Theo and I’m excited to get going. All in all, Rabobank is a very good team, I am happy to be here and to take things to the next level.”

Bos himself is delighted with the announcement of his two new teammates. The 29-year-old has only been riding on the road at the highest level since 2010, and is beginning to translate the blinding speed that brought him so many World titles on the track to the bunch finishes of the peloton.

“This is one more good step in our development; the foundation is now stronger,” he said. “Now we’ll be able to go for more sprints. I know Tanner from racing, and he’s quite a strong fella. He’s always where he needs to be. And Wagner will bring in a lot of experience. He has spent a lot of time in the leadout.

“Their arrival is just awesome.”

With Rabobank’s recently announced reorganisation at the top, where Erik Breukink and Adri van Houwelingen will step down at the end of the year, should also see improvements to the Dutch team’s sprinting. One of those to join the WorldTour team will be current women’s team managed Jeroen Blijlevens - a winner of countless sprints, including four stages of the Tour de France, two at the Giro d’Italia, and five at the Vuelta a España - who will doubtless lend his considerable experience to Bos’ cause.


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