uses cookies for statistics and targeting ads. This information is shared with third parties.

Every day we bring you more pro-cycling news

"We will build on the success of last year. We will build on the coming of age for the key riders on the team," manager Richard Plugge says

Photo: Belkin Pro Cycling Team


20.01.2014 @ 13:15 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Today Belkin held their official presentation of the team that is ready to embark of its first full year with its current sponsor. After a rollercoaster ride in 2013, the team is looking to build on its successes as it again strives to achieve success in the spring classics and the grand tours.


Team Belkin find itself in a much more comfortable position at the start of the 2014 season than they did one year ago. With the shock announcement that long-time sponsor Rabobank had pulled the plug, the team suddenly found itself with no official backer and only stayed alive as the Dutch bank fulfilled its commitment to the team in 2013.


Prior to the Tour de France, Belkin came onboard to secure the team long-term stability and so the team could look into the future with a positive mind at today's official team presentation. With a solid financial backing and a largely unchanged roster, the team is hoping to build on the success it achieved in last year's rollercoaster ride.


With uncertainty over the future being a strong driving force, the team came out with all guns blazing and had a lot of success in the early months of the season. Tom-Jelte Slagter won the Tour Down Under and the team already had amassed 10 wins when the major European races started in March.


Sep Vanmarcke saved an otherwise disappointing spring classics campaign when he finished a narrow 2nd behind Fabian Cancellara in the Paris-Roubaix. The team didn't enjoy much success in the Giro where Robert Gesink was forced to abandon due to illness.


However, the team had a fantastic Tour de France that reignited the interest in cycling in the Netherlands. Bauke Mollema and Laurens Ten Dam were long in contention for the podium places and the latter managed to finish 6th despite battling with illness in the final week.


Mollema failed to have the same kind of GC success in the Vuelta but took a stage win by launching a gutsy move in a sprint stage. Gesink ended his season on a high by winning the GP de Quebec and the team brought the curtain down by dominating the Tour of Hainan, winning all 9 stages and the overall with Moreno Hofland.


"We will build on the success of last year," manager Richard Plugge said at the presentation. "We will build on the coming of age for the key riders on the team."


The team has traditionally been known for its focus on development of young talents and plans to continue that philosophy.


"We will continue to be the breeding ground for promising riders," Plugge said. "Last year Wilco Kelderman had a really good season, but also Marc Goos and Moreno Hofland. We also hope that Steven Kruijswijk will be back at his former level."


The team hasn't brought in a lot of reinforcements for the coming season. Sprinter Barry Markus will join from the Vacansoleil squad while puncheur Jonathan Hivert comes from Sojasun. Young Nick Van Der Lijke will make his professional debut with the team in 2014.


"Nick and Barry are the guys for the future and we hope to develop them," Plugge said. "Jonathan is a strong guy and we hope to help him become stronger."


The team will have its focus on the spring classics and the grand tours.


"We will focus on the WorldTour," Plugge said. "We will focus on the spring classics with Sep [Vanmarcke] and Lars [Boom]. Bauke [Mollema], Robert [Gesink], Wilco [Kelderman] and Laurens [Ten Dam} will be our men for the grand tours and the hilly classics. And we will be good in Tour of California in Belkin's backyard."


Mollema will again lead the team in the Tour de France where he aims to improve on last year's successful result. He will be part of a three-pronged GC attack that also includes Gesink and Ten Dam.


With last year's success fresh in mind, Mollema will be under more pressure to perform and he has noticed the difference.


"There is much more media attention for me," he said. "A lot more fans are interested in me. It is a compliment for what we did as a team in the Tour.


"[I will have] pretty much the same [preparation]," he added. "Last winter I did a lot more than the years before. I trained a bit more intensively. I will start in February, a few weeks later than last year. My program will be more or less the same as last year."


While Mollema, Gesink and Ten Dam will focus on the Tour, it will be up to young Kelderman to deliver the goods in the Giro. The youngster got his first taste of grand tour racing in 2013 when he supported Gesink in the Italian race.


"Already last year I did the Giro," he said. "This year I will do it again. I hope to do better than last year and I hope to be in the top 10.


"The first weeks are really important," he said when asked about the lessons learnt from 2013. "You need to save a lot of energy. The last week in a grand tour is always hard. I learned a lot last year from the leaders."


In the cobbled classics, the team will again rely on the duo of Lars Boom and Sep Vanmarcke. Expectations for the latter are great after his outstanding ride in Roubaix which came on the heels of a bad crash in Tirreno-Adriatico.


"Last year was pretty special because I had the big crash in Tirreno," he said. "All the training work seemed to be for nothing. I worked hard after that. The only goal that was left was Paris-Roubaix. It was a dream come true to be on the podium but actually I was only disappointed because I was so close to winning."


Boom didn't have much success in last year's classics and hopes for a really muddy edition of this year's Hell of the North which would suit him better.


"There is only one race like this every year," he said. "Hopefully, it will rain a lot and be a wet race. It will make it even more special."


With a cobbled stage featuring in the Tour, Boom plans to go on to support the leaders in the biggest race in the world.


"I will ride the Tour," he said. "Last year was really special for the team and we did good teamwork to put Bauke and Laurens in good position. Especially this year with the cobbled stage, it is important for me to be there."


The team will start its season tomorrow in the Tour Down Under where Gesink will lead the 7-rider roster.



List of CyclingQuotes previews 15.05.2017 @ 07:54End of the road for CyclingQuotes 08.01.2017 @ 16:00Rui Costa confirms Giro participation 07.01.2017 @ 12:55Van Avermaet: I am not afraid of Sagan 07.01.2017 @ 09:45Unchanged course for E3 Harelbeke 07.01.2017 @ 09:32Jenner takes surprise win at Australian U23 Championships 07.01.2017 @ 08:53No replacement for Meersman at Fortuneo-Vital Concept 06.01.2017 @ 19:14Barguil with two goals in 2017 06.01.2017 @ 19:06More details about French Vuelta start emerges 06.01.2017 @ 14:16Kristoff to start season at Etoile de Besseges 06.01.2017 @ 14:10Ion Izagirre announces schedule for first year at Bahrain 06.01.2017 @ 12:40JLT Condor optimistic for Herald Sun Tour 06.01.2017 @ 09:19Haas leads Dimension Data trio in fight for Australian... 06.01.2017 @ 09:15Sagan spearheads Bora-hansgrohe at Tour Down Under 06.01.2017 @ 09:12Henao and Thomas lead Sky Down Under 06.01.2017 @ 09:09Bauer crowned New Zealand TT champion 06.01.2017 @ 08:33Van der Poel ready to defend Dutch title 05.01.2017 @ 21:00Pantano ambitious for first Tour with Trek 05.01.2017 @ 20:41Landa with new approach to the Giro 05.01.2017 @ 20:36Sunweb Development Team sign Goos and Zepuntke 05.01.2017 @ 20:27Dumoulin confirms Giro participation 05.01.2017 @ 20:19Bauer targets victories in Quick-Step debut 05.01.2017 @ 20:16Gaviria and Boonen lead Quick-Step in San Juan 05.01.2017 @ 20:13Team Sunweb presented in Germany 05.01.2017 @ 20:09ASO take over major German WorldTour race 05.01.2017 @ 11:01Team Sunweb unveil new jersey 05.01.2017 @ 10:54Reactions from the Australian TT Championships 05.01.2017 @ 08:27Dennis defends Australian TT title 05.01.2017 @ 08:21Scotson takes back to back U23 TT titles in Australia 05.01.2017 @ 08:15Utrecht on track to host 2020 Vuelta 04.01.2017 @ 18:28Pre-season setback for Talansky 04.01.2017 @ 17:56Kristoff: It's not impossible for me to win in Rou... 04.01.2017 @ 17:49Boom close to first cyclo-cross win in LottoNL debut 04.01.2017 @ 17:40UAE Abu Dhabi make late signing of Arab rider 04.01.2017 @ 17:36UAE Abu Dhabi unveil new jersey 04.01.2017 @ 17:30BMC unveil race schedule 04.01.2017 @ 17:21Androni sign Costa Rican super talent 04.01.2017 @ 17:13Lampre leave the peloton 04.01.2017 @ 17:03Nibali to skip the classics 04.01.2017 @ 16:58Kolobnev announces retirement 04.01.2017 @ 15:08Young Dimension Data team targets third consecutive win... 04.01.2017 @ 14:01Vakoc leads Quick-Step at Tour Down Under 04.01.2017 @ 13:58Puncheur course for 2017 Arctic Race of Norway 04.01.2017 @ 13:55Ewan makes it itwo in row at Criterium Championships 04.01.2017 @ 13:53Track world champion wins Australian U23 criterium title 04.01.2017 @ 13:50Orica-Scott target numerous Australian titles 04.01.2017 @ 13:472017 team analysis: Movistar Team 03.01.2017 @ 17:30Wilier-Selle Italia confirm signing of Italian talent 03.01.2017 @ 17:21Novo Nordisk under pressure to secure new sponsorship 03.01.2017 @ 17:15Report: Dumoulin to focus on the Giro 03.01.2017 @ 17:06U23 World Champion forced to turn down Quick-Step 03.01.2017 @ 17:03Ag2r veteran announces retirement 03.01.2017 @ 16:59Thurau finds new team in Kuwait 03.01.2017 @ 16:5520 teams for Challenge Mallorca 03.01.2017 @ 16:47Tony Martin unveils new rainbow jersey 03.01.2017 @ 16:39

Rebecca WIASAK
33 years | today
Daniel BABIC
33 years | today
Leif-Johnny STØDLE
37 years | today
31 years | today
Martine LICKER
44 years | today

© 2013