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“The differences between the riders are marginal. A great deal is more or less fixed as some riders focussed the whole season on the Tour de France, but it is important that the riders for the remaining spots in the selection are also...

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BAUKE MOLLEMA

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BRAM TANKINK

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DAVID TANNER

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LARS PETTER NORDHAUG

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LAURENS TEN DAM

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MAARTEN TJALLINGII

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MAARTEN WYNANTS

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MARK RENSHAW

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ROBERT GESINK

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SEP VANMARCKE

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TEAM JUMBO-VISMA

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TOM-JELTE SLAGTER

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TOUR DE FRANCE

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10.06.2013 @ 15:49 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The Dutch Blanco team has announced its pre-selection for the Tour de France, with 13 riders vying for the 9 spots in the line-up. The team is set to be built around GC riders Bauke Mollema, Robert Gesink and Laurens Ten Dam while Mark Renshaw could get a free role in the sprints.

 

Blanco had put great emphasis on the first grand tour of the season and lined up at the Giro d'Italia with GC ambitions for Robert Gesink. However, the race ended as a huge disappointment as the captain had to abandon prior to the penultimate stage after having already fallen out of contention for a spot on the podium.

 

The team hopes to make amends in the Tour de France and today announced a pre-selection of 13 riders from which the final 9 will be chosen. The team is set to be built around Gesink, Bauke Mollema and Laurens Ten Dam who have all finished in the top 10 in grand tours in the past.

 

Gesink has not raced since the Giro but will make his return to competition later this week in the Tour of Luxembourg. Mollema and Ten Dam have both performed strongly with the former winning yesterday's first mountain stage of the Tour de Suisse and the latter climbing well throughout the Criterium du Dauphiné before fading on the last day.

 

Lars Boom, Tom Leezer, Lars Petter Nordhaug, Mark Renshaw, Tom-Jelte Slagter, Bram Tankink, David Tanner, Maarten Tjallingii, Sep Vanmarcke and Maarten Wynants are the 10 remaining riders in the pre-selection. Slagter, Tankink and Tanner raced in the Dauphiné with Slagter finishing 3rd in stage 1 and Tankink 7th in stage 2. Slagter won the Tour Down Under early this season but has not delivered on those promises since.

 

Leezer, Vanmarcke, Renshaw and Nordhaug are currently racing in Switzlerand and the latter showed some promising signs in yesterday's stage where he did a huge work for Mollema. Vanmarcke finished a surprisingly 29th in the opening time trial - the Belgian is not usually known for his strength in that discipline - but his performance was greatly facilitated by a shift in the wind direction.

 

Renshaw has just recently returned to competition after a bad crash in the Tour of Turkey and hopes to use the Swiss race to prove that he has recovered sufficiently to start the world's biggest race. He told Cyclingnews earlier this week that he will be free to try his hand in the sprints if he is selected but that he will not be given any support in the a team which is built around its GC ambitions.

 

Boom starts the Ster ZLM Toer on Wednesday and hopes to improve on last year's 2nd place in the race. Finally, Wynants and Tjallingii both rode the Giro d'Italia where they supported Gesink in the flat stages and while the latter will line up in Luxemborg this week, the former will not only possibly line-up at the Belgian championships prior to the Tour.

 

Sports director Nico Verhoeven admits that it will be a difficult choice.

 

“Until the start we are still active in different races," he said. "We were active in the Critérium du Dauphiné and currently we are racing in Tour du Suisse, the Tour du Luxembourg and the Ster ZLM Toer. Those races are good to monitor the form and health of the riders in the pre-selection.”

 

“The differences between the riders are marginal. A great deal is more or less fixed as some riders focussed the whole season on the Tour de France, but it is important that the riders for the remaining spots in the selection are also in shape.”

 

The Tour de France starts on June 29 with a flat road stage on the island of Corsica.

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