Jurgen Van den Broeck: "Everyone, including myself, expects another top five ranking at the Tour."
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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Jurgen Van den Broeck: "Everyone, including myself, expects another top five ranking at the Tour."

by Jered Gruber at 12:42 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Belgian hope leaving nothing to chance in hopes of improving on great 2010 Tour de France performance

The fifth overall finisher at last year's Tour de France, Jurgen Van den Broeck, is working hard to figure out how to keep stepping higher toward the top step of the podium in the sport's biggest race.

Of particular interest for the 27 year old Belgian is the time trial. In last year's major test against the clock: Van den Broeck finished over seven minutes behind stage winner, Fabian Cancellara. The results were skewed that day due to a major shift in the wind, but even taking that into account, Van den Broeck was still 3:19 adrift of Denis Menchov, who led home the general classification contenders that day.

Speaking to the Gazet van Antwerpen, the Omega Pharma-Lotto leader is clear in his focus: "I want to raise my level in the time trials. Right now, it is not good enough."

It wouldn't be a weak time trialist and an off season without a trip to the wind tunnel, but last year's Ruta del Sol runner-up to Michael Rogers is paying a visit to a slightly different wind tunnel than most - he's heading in the direction of Formula 1.

"Where can I improve? Everything can be better. Accordingly, I am going to the wind tunnel of the McLaren F1 team at the end of January…I want to benefit from the knowledge of Formula 1."

Van den Broeck does not have a history of weak time trialing. While his junior World Time Trial Championship certainly doesn't do him much good as a Tour de France contender ten years on, it does show that the ability to contend against the best in a test against the clock is there. Some of the native of Herentals's slowing in the contre la montre could possibly be attributed to focusing too much on climbing according to the Belgian Grand Tour threat. Van den Broeck feels that he spent too much time focusing on his climbing over the last few years at the expense of his time trial, and while he feels that he needs to spend more time working to better his time trailing, his climbing, "could be better."

Looking at the 2011 season, Van den Broeck is leaving nothing to chance.

"I'm a control freak. For me, everything is planned. I must know everything. In December, I put together a folder with the planning of the Tour to the smallest detail. The training and tests ahead of the Tour are fixed, so now I feel at ease.

In an amusing nod to the patience of his Omega Pharma director, Herman Frison, Van den Broeck recognizes that he requires a bit more attention than most riders.

"Herman Frison knows what is important to me. He is really busy with me."

The extra work and attention will hopefully do the soon to be 28 year old rider good though. The expectations for a confirmation Tour de France performance are high, and it's not just from his team or his country - Van den Broeck is at the top of the list when it comes to demands for July 2011.

"Everyone, including myself, expects another top five ranking at the Tour."

It's a long way to July, but if Van den Broeck continues to improve as he has done over the past few years, it doesn't seem too far-fetched for him to dream of a podium, especially if Alberto Contador finds himself sitting out this year's Grand Boucle.



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