Omega Pharma Lotto finalises team for Tour de France
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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Omega Pharma Lotto finalises team for Tour de France

by Shane Stokes at 8:24 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Gilbert, Van den Broeck and Greipel to lead Belgian squad

Philippe GilbertThe Belgian Omega Pharma Lotto team has announced its lineup for the 2011 Tour de France and, as expected, Philippe Gilbert, Jurgen Van den Broeck and André Greipel will be the cornerstones of the squad. All three riders have different abilities, with Gilbert likely to shine on the selective, Classic-style stages as well as the punchy uphill finishes, Greipel aiming to chase success in bunch sprints and Van den Broeck targeting the overall classification.

All three riders have won this season. Gilbert is one of the sport’s standout riders at present, taking the stunning triple of Amstel Gold, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Flèche Wallonne in April, as well as the earlier Fleche Brabaconne race. He states he is still a few percentage points off his top form, but nevertheless won a stage plus the overall classification in the Ster ZLM Toer last week. He has taken eleven victories thus far this season.

With several of the Tour stages looking suited to his abilities, Gilbert is aiming to grab his first-ever stage win in the race, and also to chase the Maillot Jaune.

André Greipel has missed recent editions as his previous HTC-Colombia team favoured Mark Cavendish as their preferred sprinter. The two famously did not get on, and there was no scope to take both to the Tour. Since moving to Omega Pharma Lotto he has had a greater freedom, and will hope to capitalise on that in July. The German has had a solid season thus far, winning stages of the Volta ao Algarve, Three Days of De Panne and the Tour of Turkey. More recently, he picked up two stages of the Tour of Belgium.

Providing Greipel can hit top form, he will try to prove a point to Cavendish, who has been dismissive about his abilities in the past.

Van den Broeck has been preparing solidly for the Tour, and is motivated to continue his progression as a GC contender. After finishing seventh in the 2008 Giro d’Italia, he has been 15th and then fifth in the past two Tours. Victory on the first stage of the Critérium du Daupiné showed the benefits of his recent altitude training, and he finished a very solid fourth overall there.

The trio will be supported at the Tour by Belgians Jürgen Roelandts, Jurgen Van de Walle, Jelle Vanendert and Frederik Willems, as well as the German rider Marcel Sieberg. The Briton Adam Blythe and the Australian rider Adam Hansen will unfortunately miss out this time round.


Omega Pharma-Lotto for Tour de France:

Philippe Gilbert, Jurgen Van den Broeck, Jürgen Roelandts, Jurgen Van de Walle, Jelle Vanendert and Frederik Willems (all Belgium), Andre Greipel and Marcel Sieberg (both Germany).


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