21 June 2013

Tour de France 2013: The Teams 10 Lotto-Belisol

Lotto-Belisol actually named their team yesterday but I didn't have time to write them up. They are lloking to do the same as last year and have one GC contender plus a guy going for points and stages in the sprints.

Jurgen Van Den Broeck has twice been just off the podium in the Tour, last year the Belgian found himself there once again after being elevated for 2010 after Contador was excluded. He has also kept just missing the podium of the Critérium du Dauphiné coming 4th in 2010, 2011 and 5th in 2012. He's been top ten in all three Grand Tours with 7th in the 2008 Giro and 8th in the 2011 Vuelta. This season he started with a 5th in the Tour de San Luis, 2nd in the Vuelta a Andalucia and was 7th in the Tour de Romandie. He didn't have his best time in the Dauphiné but then the weather affected a lot of riders. He could once again be thereabouts looking for yet another top 10 finish.

Andre Greipel  was one of the three riders to win three stages in last year's Tour. The others being Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan. This year of course the German will not just be facing Cavendish but Cav's team in support of him, like it was on stage 18 and 20 last year. This year he has secured three points jerseys: Tour of Turkey v Marcel Kittel (ARG), Baloise Belgium Tour v Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and Danny van Poppel (VCD), Ster ZLM Toer GP Jan van Heeswijk v Kittel and Lars Boom (BLA). But it is when he comes up against Cavendish that he often has to settle for second best. In Grand Tour encounters he has only been ahead 6 times to Cavendish's 11, 5 wins to 9. He will have to be on his best form and time his final kick just right to get the better of his former high road team mate. Update Greipel sprinted to the German national road race title on the Sunday before the Tour.

Last year Aussie Adam Hansen become only the second from his country to complete all three Grand Tours in a calendar year, joining an elite club of 32 riders. If he gets to the line in Paris he will have completed six Grand Tours in a row, good but still trailing Marino Lejarettta, who completed all three Tours from 1989-91. He won a solo stage in this year's Giro when he reached Pescara in the pouring rain on stage 7. He's an experienced domestique entering his 13th Grand Tour and in all likelihood he's going to get around.

Jürgen Roelandts will be one of the men tasked with looking after Greipel in the final kms of the stage. He's not a bad sprinter in his own right having won this season's points classification in the Tour Méditerranéen. This will be his 4th time in the Tour and he knows how to get around. The Belgian was 5th in the World Championship road race in 2011 behind Mark Cavendish, but he'll be working to get Greipel up to a speed that he might be able to beat the Manx Missile.

Marcel Sieberg is another carriage in that lead out train. Like Greipel and Hansen he has come through the HTC Columbia team. Indeed his best Grand Tour finish was 4th on stage 9 of the 2009 Vuelta in which he was also the 3rd best Columbia rider. So with that experience in Columbia he is used to being part of the most effective lead out train machine there was, but now some of those guys like Marcel are doing what they can to stop their former number one sprinter.

Gregory Henderson  is the first New Zealander to be confirmed for the 2013 Tour and is the third man assigned to be part of Greipel's train. He is another of the Columbia old boys, via two seasons at Sky. He has a Grand Tour stage under his belt in the 2009 Vuelta, but his sprinting form is another going to accelerate Greipel towards the end. He's twice won the points classification in the Tour of Georgia in 2005 and again 2008. He had a successful track career including being World Champion in the Scratch race.

Bart de Clercq is only a third year pro but this will already be his fourth Grand Tour, though Tour Debut. In that first year he actually won stage 7 of the Giro, before finishing the 2011 staging in 26th.  Last year he was 17th in the Vuelta after being 40th in the Giro. This year he has been 17th in Paris-Nice and 5th in the Vuelta a Andalucia. He'll be keeping an eye on Van Den Broeck in the mountains helping his leader stay with the GC contenders.

Lars Ytting Bak is taking back in his third Tour, after the last two and tenth Grand Tour. His first Tour found him as part of Cavendish's sprint train, so he can slot it if required to Greipel's. His another all rounder who has won an individual stage in the 2012 Giro by holing off the chasing pack and was 4th in one of the Tour last year. In 2011 he came 5th in Paris-Roubaix so may well be able to go on an attack at some point on one of the tougher stages. In 2005 he won his only Tour race the Tour de l'Avenir, he has been both the road race and time trial (x3) champion of Denmark.

The final member is another Belgian Frederik Willems he won the Étoile de Bessèges in 2006. He's appearing in his 5th Tour and 8th Grand Tour. He will be a utility rider for whatever type of stage is being faced on the day. He had a difficult 2012 but is back to form this season. He was involved in a crash on stage 9 of the 2011 Tour which also saw the end of Van Den Broeck's race as well as the infamous crash involving the French TV car which wiped out Juan Antonia Flecha and Johnny Hoogerland.

Lotto-Belisol are going for the same two prongs of attack as they did last year, with mostly the same personnel. The one they may find hardest to hit is getting Greipel the same number of wins. Kittel retired early last year and Cavendish was without dedicated support. But Van Den Broeck if he is on form should be challenging for top ten finish.

No comments:

Post a Comment