Team LottoNL-Jumbo will take a group of nine motivated riders to the Tour de France. Wilco Kelderman and Robert Gesink are the team’s main guns, with Steven Kruijswijk and Laurens ten Dam as second options in the general classification.“We selected a balanced composition of our Tour de France team,” sports director Nico Verhoeven explained.
“Facing the profile, we didn’t target the bunch sprints as much as before. This year, we’re starting with more climbers. Robert and Wilco are our front men, but also Laurens and Steven proved themselves in big tours already.
“It’s obvious that a lot can happen in the first ten days of the Tour de France. With this group of four, we have less of a risk of losing our general classifications ambitions completely after the first part. We’re able to spread out our chances. That means that we’re not focusing on just one team leader. The main part of the race is in the second half, so when that period starts, we still have to be in good position.”
It will be Wilco Kelderman’s debut in the Tour de France this year. “I’m really looking forward to it,” the young cyclist said. “I’ve been preparing specifically for the Tour de France the last five weeks. I’ve had a training camp at altitude and rode the Criterium du Dauphiné as preparation.
“I’m looking forward to the start in Utrecht and to the stage to Alpe d’Huez the most. The next week and a half, I’m going to do some specific training on my time trial bike and rest so that I will be fresh at the start.”
Plateau de Beille
“The fact that we’re going to start in the Netherlands is wonderful and I’m very happy to be there,” Gesink said. “I have some great memories from the last time that the Tour de France started here and I can’t wait until the departure in Utrecht. But I’m really looking forward to the moment we leave Holland, to challenge the moments."
“For the moment, I have to make sure that I have time enough to rest from my effort in the Tour de Suisse. Besides that, I’m planning to preview the stage to Plateau de Beille from my home in Girona.”
“Everyone is ready,” Verhoeven continued. “Most of the riders prepared themselves at altitude for the Tour de France. It was the first time to do so for Sep Vanmarcke. He improved his form in the Tour de Suisse. Robert and Laurens chose to do their preparations in the United States and that went smoothly, as well. Besides that Robert and Wilco will not start in the Dutch national road race because of their preparation for the Tour. Together, we’re looking forward to a Tour de France which is even more special for us because of the start in our own country.”
Robert Gesink, Wilco Kelderman, Laurens ten Dam, Steven Kruijswijk, Sep Vanmarcke, Bram Tankink, Tom Leezer, Jos van Emden and Paul Martens.
Source: Team LottoNL-Jumbo