Belgian hope Van Den Broeck ready to chase top ten finish in Tour
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Friday, January 29, 2010

Belgian hope Van Den Broeck ready to chase top ten finish in Tour

by Conal Andrews at 8:05 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 

Placing fifth in the 2008 Giro d’Italia (after the disqualifications of Ricco and Sella) and fifteenth in last year’s Tour de France, 26 year old Jurgen Van Den Broeck will aim to step up a level in this year’s Tour. He’ll be the GC leader of the Omega Pharma-Lotto team and even if he’s nervous at the thought, he’s also ambitious.

“A good general classification result,” he told DH.be, when asked what he wants to target. “A top ten, even though I know the big guys will not let me take a big lead this time. I can’t rely on the benefit of surprise. A stage victory makes me dream, as does the polka-dot jersey, but it is necessary to have luck to get into the good breakaways.”

Van Den Broeck, or VDB, as he is known, has raced with the Quick Step, US Postal/Discovery Channel and Predictor/Silence Lotto teams, and now finds himself thrust into the spotlight after the sudden departure of Cadel Evans to BMC Racing.

That’s a little intimidating, but he simply needs to get on with it.

“I would have preferred that he remain one more year,” he admitted. “I find myself the leader sooner than expected. I had counted on working for Evans this season and building experience, before doing my own thing in 2011.”

He went into last year’s race set to support the Australian in the mountains. However Evans got sick and performed well off his usual level, finishing only 30th. VDB stepped up to the plate and took that fifteenth place, finishing the race a full 13 places better than the second Belgian, Maxime Monfort (Columbia HTC).

That means that he will have to bear both the hopes of a nation and also those of his team. “I know I’ll have much more pressure on my shoulders, but I’m confident enough to manage that well,” Van Den Broeck states. “That said, when we discussed the possible arrival of Roman Kreuziger, I was very interested in the idea of having another Tour rider by my side.

“Anyway, Cadel is gone, it is his decision; Kreuziger will not come, and now it is necessary to look to the present.”

The former world junior champion believes it is necessary to gauge his effort in 2010, pushing to stay with the big riders but not going to deep. Blowing up would undoubtedly cost him, and so he needs to know when hammer and when to hold back.

“I have to control myself, because last year when I felt I had the strength to attack the hills along with Contador, Schleck or Armstrong, it was hard to resist,” he said.

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