Lotto-Belisol Tour de France team built around both Greipel and Van Den Broeck
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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Lotto-Belisol Tour de France team built around both Greipel and Van Den Broeck

by Ben Atkins at 12:13 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Belgian team one of the few with serious sprint and general classification ambitions

andre greipelLotto-Belisol has become the latest team to announce its nine-man line up for the upcoming Tour de France and, with both André Greipel and Jurgen Van Den Broeck named as leaders, will be one of the few with serious ambitions in sprint stages and the general classification. Greipel will be looking to add to his four-stage tally in the race so far - with three of those taken in last year’s edition - while Van Den Broeck hopes to make the final podium in Paris, to go at least one better than his fourth places of 2010 and 2012.

“Our nine riders are ready for it,” said team manager Marc Sergeant. “From [Lars] Bak to [Frederik] Willems they are all guys in whom we have confidence that they will perform their task very well for three weeks and they’ll represent Lotto Belisol in the best way possible. All riders that have the necessary experience to mingle themselves in the bustle of three weeks Tour de France.”

With both sprint and overall ambitions, the Belgian team will be split between its captains, unlike virtually all other teams in the race who will generally be built around one or the other. It is a combination that worked well in 2012, however, and Sergeant is confident that it can do so again.

“Considering that our core is almost identical to that of last year also our Tour selection doesn’t differ much from previous edition,’ Sergeant explained. “André Greipel and Jurgen Van den Broeck are still our main leaders. Last year the team has proved it is possible to pursue two goals. André of course has his train to support him: Greg Henderson, Jürgen Roelandts and Marcel Sieberg. The past few months we worked on the automatisms, with a number of victories as a result, but at the start of the Tour all fast guys begin as equals. The competition in the finishing straight will be big, but of course our goal is to lead André to a stage win.”

While Greipel’s season has seen the big German take nine victories so far, Van Den Broeck’s path to the Tour has been less certain, but Sergeant is confident that his rider’s build up to the race has been as good as in previous years.

jurgen van den broeck“Jurgen Van den Broeck only has brought some small changes to his Tour preparation; The Tour de Romandie instead of the Walloon Classics, an extra week of rest after the Volta a Cataluña, Vuelta al País Vasco and the Tour de Romandie, but for the rest it was a passionate and meticulous drawn preparation just like the previous years,” Sergeant said. “We know the cause of the two difficult days in the Dauphiné, but I think it was clear immediately that this hasn’t affected his focus and goal. It’s still his ultimate goal to make a bid for the Tour podium, but there aren’t few candidates for a place in top ten. For our country it’s a unique fact to have a rider who can have those kind of ambitions.

“Jurgen will be able to rely on the support of among other Bart De Clercq, who makes his début, and Fredrik Willems. It’s still only the third season as a pro for Bart and he’s developing year after year as a rider who excels in mountainous terrain. Frederik Willems had a difficult year in 2012 but showed the past few months that’s he’s back. Guys like Lars Bak and Adam Hansen are invaluable, as well for André as for Jurgen, and perform much invisible work.”

The confirmation of Hansen in the nine-man team will hopefully see the Australian Giro d’Italia stage winner on his way to his goal of finishing all three Grand Tours for the second straight year.

“The 100th edition of the Tour will be even more special than another Tour,” Sergeant added. “Tour organisation ASO has drawn a beautiful, varied but selective course with the start in Corsica, the team time trial, two not too big nice time trials, the visits to France’s biggest cities, the finish on the Mont Ventoux, the double passage on Alpe d’Huez and the final stage from Versailles to Paris. I hope we will succeed to pursue our ambitions with the team spirit that is characteristic for Lotto Belisol as well on the bike as next to it, with riders and staff.”

Lotto-Belisol team for the Tour de France
Lars Bak, Bart De Clercq, André Greipel, Adam Hansen, Greg Henderson, Jürgen Roelandts, Marcel Sieberg, Jurgen Van den Broeck and Frederik Willems.

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