Hoogerland wants Tour of Britain success, angry to miss Vuelta and worlds
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Monday, September 13, 2010

Hoogerland wants Tour of Britain success, angry to miss Vuelta and worlds

by Shane Stokes at 8:10 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España, World Championships, Tour of Britain
Says Vancansoleil will announce a ‘very big new rider’, but doesn’t name him

Johnny HoogerlandDutch rider Johnny Hoogerland had a strong showing on yesterday’s second stage of the Tour of Britain, crossing over to the big break and then going on to place eighth in Stoke on Trent. It was a ride fuelled by anger, with the Vacansoleil rider smarting due to his non-participation in two of his big season goals.

His team was not invited back to the Vuelta a España, where he finished 12th overall last year, and he was also recently told he would not be going to the worlds in Australia.

When asked by VeloNation if he wanted to ride strongly in the Tour of Britain to prove a point, and to take some sort of revenge for missing the Spanish Grand Tour, he said that it was more than that. “Not just for the Vuelta,” he answered at the post-race press conference. “I really wanted to do the Vuelta, but also the World Championship. They passed me by, so I just want to show [them] that I have to be there. I am always good in September and October, so it is the same this year.”

Hoogerland said that he didn’t know why he wasn’t part of the squad for the road race in Geelong on October 3rd. His body language made it clear that it was a decision he wasn’t happy about, with frustration clear on his face when he spoke about the subject.

The 27 year old was actually the best-placed Dutch rider in last year’s worlds, finishing 14th. He was also one of the more aggressive riders in the finale

In theory a strong ride in the Tour of Britain could put pressure on the selectors, but he claims he’s not thinking about that. “Maybe if someone is injured I can go, but actually I am not really motivated anymore for doing that race,” he said. “Now I just want to do a very good Tour of Britain, then Franco-Belge and some Classics in Italy. Then take a holiday.”

Before then, he’s got a Tour of Britain to try to win. “I think just ten riders are within 30 seconds of each other, so I think it is just between those of us,” he said. “I think it’s difficult for Henderson to keep the jersey. He’s good on the hills, but we are doing a few very hilly stages so I think it is difficult for him. We are not satisfied with a sixth place on the general, so we are going to try to win the overall.”

One advantage for Vacansoleil is that it had three riders in the break; Michale Golas, Borut Bozic, and Hoogerland. They were seventh, eighth, and ninth yesterday, all crossing the line three seconds behind Henderson. “We had three in the front group, so I think we’ve a strong team,” he said. “We had Wout [Poels] and (Matteo) Carrara in the peloton, but they are also in very good condition, so I think we can make it pretty hard for Sky.”

Big signing, but who is it?

Hoogerland’s press conference ended on an intriguing note. Asked by VeloNation if there were any big signings pending for the team, he said that something is in the works, and suggested that it could change the way race organisers see them. The team was not invited to any of the Grand Tours this year and wants to avoid that in 2011.

“One very big new rider is coming to the team, and they will publish his name in a few days or weeks,” he said. “I think it will not be so easy to pass over us next year. But [then again], that’s what we thought last year with the brothers Feillu, and they passed us also…”

Pressed as to whether the mystery signing was a Classics rider or a Grant Tour contender, he didn’t give anything away. In fact, he claimed he didn’t know. “The manager of the team didn’t even want to tell me! I begged him to tell it, but he didn’t,” he said.

The team signed Riccardo Riccò last month, so he too will add firepower.


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