Van den Broeck convinced that top three in Tour de France is possible
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Monday, May 06, 2013

Van den Broeck convinced that top three in Tour de France is possible

by Shane Stokes at 6:07 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Belgian contender accepts that the race is unpredictable, but is working hard towards race

Jurgen Van den BroeckFourth overall in 2010 and again in 2012, the Lotto Belisol rider Jurgen Van den Broeck believes it possible to step up onto the podium of the Tour de France this year, and is building towards the race with that objective in mind.

“I have already become fourth in the Tour two times, so right next to the podium,” he said at the Lotto Belisol fan day, held on Saturday at the Zolder racing circuit. “This means the top three is possible. But every Tour is different and hard to predict, you can become seventh or third with the same condition. You can only train hard, get to the start fine and then give full gas and see where you finish.”

Last year the Belgian rider was a little over ten minutes behind the race winner Bradley Wiggins, but lost much of that time in the time trials. This year’s race is weighted more towards the climbers and he will seek to take advantage of that. While there are races against the clock, they are less tailored towards the flat TT specialists, and this should also give him encouragement.

“The last time trial seems to be a tough one, but you can also win or lose the Tour in the mountains. In three weeks time I’ll do a recon of the time trials,” he sai.d

Thus far this year, he has been second overall in the Vuelta a Andalucia, fifth in the Tour de San Luis, seventh in the Tour de Romandie and ninth in the Volta a Catalunya.

That’s a solid run, but he wanted and expected more of himself. “I’m not satisfied with the first part of my season,” he said. “I am with my condition, but not with the results. In the Volta a Catalunya it was my own fault, in the Vuelta al País Vasco I lost all chances after a crash and in the Tour de Romandie I wasn’t good enough on day one. Maybe it was the wrong choice that the training camp ended so close to the prologue in the Tour de Romandie. But still, I could save my GC afterwards.”

He took encouragement from one aspect of that race. “My time trial on Sunday was surprisingly good. I was amazed that I left some specialists behind me in the classification. If I’m in good condition and take the right position, I can set good times.”

He isn’t riding the Giro d’Italia, but said that he will track what happens there and keep an eye on Wiggins, who is speaking about going for the Giro/Tour double. “Aiming for two Grand Tours isn’t easy,” he says, “especially if they follow so close.”

Instead, rather than racing in Italy, he will concentrate on his training and also checking out more stages of the Tour. He’s already seen the first three stages on Corsica, and will soon take the chance to check out a bit more of the race.

“Now I’m going to the Sierra Nevada again, for three weeks, then I’ll do a recon of the stages in the Alps and another time I’ll go to the Pyrenees.”

After that, he a busy schedule. “In June I’ll ride the Dauphiné and then I’m leaving again for the Sierra Nevada. Two days before the national championship I’ll return to Belgium.”

His hopes are that the programme of racing and high altitude training will bring him to a perfect peak for July, and that he will be able to clock up his best-ever Tour finish then.

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