Multi-pronged approach for Vacansoleil DCM team at Tour de France
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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Multi-pronged approach for Vacansoleil DCM team at Tour de France

by Shane Stokes at 12:00 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Danny Van Poppel makes Tour debut at 19: ‘Talent needs to be stimulated”

Thomas De GendtTaking a broad approach in order to maximise its chances of strong performances in the Tour, the Vacansoleil DCM team has outlined its lineup and strategy for this year’s race.

The team’s plan sees it identify and select three sets of riders, a plan that it hopes will see it perform on several occasions during the race. There will be three sprinters, three climbers and three attacking riders and between them, the Dutch squad hopes to enliven the race.

The lineup consists of five Dutch riders, namely the trio of Wout Poels, Johnny Hoogerland and Lieuwe Westra plus the Van Poppel brothers Boy and Danny.

Also on the squad is the Belgian Thomas de Gendt (pictured), third in the 2012 Giro d’Italia, plus his compatriot Kris Boeckmans. The Spaniard Juan Antonio Flecha, who won a stage in 2010 will also ride, as will the Uzbek national champion Sergey Lagutin.

“We’re expecting that these nine selected riders will do justice to the characteristic that Vacansoleil-DCM is best known for: the Dutch World Tour-team has always been about a surprising, passionate and attractive style of racing,” said the team in a press statement announcing the line-up. “That is exactly how the squad hopes to pick up a stage win in France’s national tour. This does not mean that they’ll be forgetting all about the GC.

“Wout Poels has found his habitual level after his serious crash in last year’s Tour and has already been rubbing shoulders with the world’s top riders. His third place finish in the 2012 Giro d’Italia was definitely proof of the fact that Thomas De Gendt has what it takes to make an excellent GC contender.”

The team was today unveiled in Rucphen - Sint Willebrord. Directeur sportif Aart Vierhouten draws particular attention to one of the squad’s youngest riders, saying that he believes he can step up a level.

“Danny van Poppel making the team is probably the biggest surprise for outsiders,” he said. “I’ve worked with him for three years when I was responsible for the national team, first as a junior, then in the U-23 category. I have witnessed every time that when he rises through the ranks it does not affect him much at all.

“That has proven to be the case now that he’s joined the pros where he has already made it up to the podium quite a few times. Nineteen is young, but luckily that is not a problem in the Tour today. The young kids they are able to connect, where this was impossible ten years ago.”

While he’s younger than most who make their Tour debuts, Vierhouten argues that he is a rider who needs new challenges in order to bring him on. “Talent needs to be stimulated,” he said.

Van Poppel has clocked up several top ten placings this season, including second places on stages of the Tour of Belgium and the Tour of Luxembourg. “He showed everyone that his form is excellent, so that gave him an edge,” said Vierhouten. “So far he has only 34 racing days for the year, so we don’t think that we’re putting him to the sword, but of course we will monitor him closely, together with our medical staff. And the Tour will be an awesome experience for him, and very valuable for his future as a cyclist.”

Vacansoleil-DCM for Tour de France:

Kris Boeckmans (26), Juan Antonio Flecha (35), Thomas De Gendt (26), Johnny Hoogerland (30), Sergey Lagutin (32), Wout Poels (25), Boy van Poppel (19), Danny van Poppel (25), Lieuwe Westra (30).


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