Jurgen Van Den Broeck heading to Dauphiné in search of Tour de France repeat
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Thursday, June 02, 2011

Jurgen Van Den Broeck heading to Dauphiné in search of Tour de France repeat

by Ben Atkins at 1:23 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Critérium du Dauphiné
 
Belgian’s task will be all the tougher with list of top riders set to start

jurgen van den broeckJurgen Van Den Broeck (Omega Pharma-Lotto) starts the Critérium du Dauphiné on Sunday, hoping that the weeklong race will spur him on to a high place in the Tour de France, just as it did last year. The Belgian finished fourth in the Alpine race last year; he managed to carry his form into July and finished fifth in the Tour, the best for a Belgian in 24 years.

“My whole season is based on the Tour de France,” he said, “but the Critérium du Dauphiné, where I finished in fourth place overall in 2010, has a special place in my programme.”

So far this season, Van Den Broeck’s season has been quiet in terms of results, although he has been working hard in the service of his teammates. At the Tour de France though, the team will be all for him, according to Omega Pharma-Lotto manager Marc Sergeant

“We are behind him 100%,” said Sergeant. “This season he has worked for Philippe Gilbert and André Greipel, but in July both will be at his service. It will be his Tour even if Philippe and Andre are extremely motivated by the first week of the race.”

The Tour’s first stage, to the Mont des Alouettes, seems almost tailor made for Ardennes specialist Gilbert, while Greipel will be aiming for the sprint finishes in what, almost unbelievably, will be his first appearance in the race. Besides this, Sergeant is sure that the Belgian team will be right behind Van Den Broeck.

“We have been building a team spirit that Jurgen will benefit from,” he explained. “For the Critérium du Dauphiné, we haven’t set any goals. We would be happy if he could finish fourth like last year, although victory is not impossible.”

After his result in last year’s races, Van Den Broeck knows only too well how good the Dauphiné can be as a final preparation race for the Tour de France, which begins less than three weeks after the Dauphiné’s conclusion.

“In 2010, I finished fourth in the Criterium du Dauphine and fifth in the Tour de France,” he said. “In July, I want to be on the Tour podium.

“No need to tell you how this last race before the Tour is important to me.”

The Belgian’s task this year is complicated slightly though, by the presence of a number of strong riders, who elected to sit out the Giro d’Italia this year. Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale), Cadel Evans (BMC Racing), Robert Gesink (Rabobank), Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) and Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) are all set to start the Dauphiné on Sunday as part of their own preparation for July’s Tour de France.

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