Belkin Vuelta team to be led by Laurens ten Dam and Bauke Mollema
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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Belkin Vuelta team to be led by Laurens ten Dam and Bauke Mollema

by Ben Atkins at 3:44 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
Theo Bos to be Dutch team’s sprinter in third Grand Tour

laurens ten damBelkin Pro Cycling’s Bauke Mollema will lead the Dutch team in its second straight Grand Tour as he lines up at the start of the Vuelta a España on Saturday, and will share the team’s general classification ambitions with Laurens ten Dam. Mollema was the leader at the Tour de France, where he flirted with the podium before illness saw him slip to sixth, while ten Dam was given a freer role in the race and managed to take 13th.

The team will be approaching the race on two fronts, however, as, along with the two general classification riders, it will be hunting for stages with sprinter Theo Bos.

"Theo has up to five chances because there aren't that many flat stages," explained directeur sportif Erik Dekker. "It's also important for him to see if he can handle the mountains and finish a Grand Tour.
"With Laurens and Bauke, we hope to have the best GC ride possible," Dekker continued. "After the Tour, it will be a challenge for them both to again give everything they have, both mentally and physically. They need to be good from the start because after the team time trial on the first day, the mountains immediately pop up.

"This is a test for the future,” Dekker said of the team’s twin general classification and sprint goals. “We want to see how we can combine these two objectives. It will be a challenge to find the right balance."

Having ridden alongside ten Dam with some success in the Tour, where both riders were present in many of the key moments in the race, Mollema is looking forward to continuing their partnership in the Vuelta.

"I have been in Spain the last week to train in the mountains and get used to the heat,” Mollema said. “I'm feeling strong but I don't know how my body will react to two Grand Tours in a row.

“I'm looking forward to sharing the leadership role with Laurens,” he added. “We both like the Vuelta. I already finished fourth once, while last year Laurens placed eighth."

Ten Dam is hoping to bounce back from a disappointing return to racing this week, where he crashed and struggled in the Tour des Fjords in Norway, in his first race since the Tour.

"I crashed on the first day and wasn't really able to follow in the team time trial," Ten Dam explained. "I'll have to wait and see how strong I really am, but I'm excited. We'll know soon enough where we stand with all those summit finishes in the first week."

Mark Renshaw, who will leave the Dutch team at the end of the season to be reunited with Mark Cavendish at Omega Pharma-Quick Step, has pulled out of the team’s expected line up with illness and has been replaced by Robert Wagner.

Belkin Pro Cycling team for the Vuelta a España
Theo Bos, Graeme Brown, Stef Clement, Laurens ten Dam, Robert Wagner, Juanma Gárate, Bauke Mollema, Luis León Sánchez and David Tanner.


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