Hoogerland to lead Vacansoleil-DCM at Tour of Beijing
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Friday, September 16, 2011

Hoogerland to lead Vacansoleil-DCM at Tour of Beijing

by Kyle Moore at 4:11 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Dutchman speaks about his late-summer race program

Johnny HoogerlandAfter an eventful summer, Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM) is warming up for a busy end to the season. The Dutchman will lead his team in the inaugural Tour of Beijing, which begins on October 5. Though it will leave sprinters Romain Feillu and Borut Bozic at home, Vacansoleil-DCM brings some of its biggest stars to Asia.

“It will be good to race in Asia on a World Tour level and I hope it helps endorse cycling all over the world,” stated Hoogerland. “For us it will be a hard race with the World Tour teams riding over there, but our team rides impressively and delivers value to a race always and everywhere!”

The popular Dutchman is fully recovered after a horrifying crash at the Tour de France, when a TV car side-swiped Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky Procycling) and sent Hoogerland careening into a barbed-wire fence. Hoogerland missed the opportunity for a stage win out of that breakaway, but he soldiered on, briefly wearing the polka dot jersey and making it to Paris successfully.

“After my crash in the Tour de France I knew my chances to win the mountain classification were gone and I had to give it all to even finish the Tour de France,” Hoogerland said. “Luckily the wounds healed fast and I was able to enjoy the Dutch criteriums after the Tour before I started preparing for the last part of the season.”

“I did the Tour de l’Ain and Tour du Limousin as my first serious races back, and I was pretty strong in the Classics following those tours. I had a solid Worlds and Lombardia campaign in 2009, so I know I can still produce some good results towards the end of the season.”

Hoogerland had his breakout season in 2009, his first with Team Vacansoleil. He finished twelfth in the Vuelta a España with how now trademark attacking style. He was fourteenth, the best placed Dutchman, at the Worlds road race in Mendrisio before finishing the season with a thirteenth place at Paris-Tours and a fifth at the Giro di Lombardia.

Before Beijing, Hoogerland heads back to the Worlds with the Dutch team. “I am hoping for a good World Championships with a strong Dutch team and I think we will have a go for the rainbow jersey,” he added. “After the Worlds I’m riding in Beijing and Lombardia and I know it is not fun to ride in October without good legs so I’d better have them.”

Vacansoleil-DCM has accumulated its best stage race performers of the season and teamed them up for the Tour of Beijing. Along with Hoogerland, Matteo Carrara and Thomas de Gendt highlight the squad. De Gendt had one of his best days as a pro in the Tour de France, when he finished sixth at the top of Alpe d’Huez this year, his debut in the race.

The team also brings Wout Poels and Martijn Keizer, who both completed the Vuelta a España. Wouter Mol, Lieuwe Westra, and Rob Ruijgh round out the squad. Ruijgh finished 21st overall in his debut Tour de France.

“Besides the status of the races and the field I always enjoy racing all over the world,” Hoogerland explained about his varied racing calendar. “When I was an amateur I enjoyed travelling the world and raced on all continents.”

“I always try to get information on the Internet on where I am going. I very much enjoy sceneries, different landscapes and interaction with the locals. If you are away as much as we are you’d better enjoy where you are.”

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