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DAVID TANNER

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NEWS

MAARTEN TJALLINGII

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MARK RENSHAW

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PARIS - NICE

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ROBERT GESINK

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NEWS

STEF CLEMENT

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NEWS

STEVEN KRUIJSWIJK

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TEAM JUMBO-VISMA

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WILCO KELDERMAN

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NEWS
28.02.2013 @ 12:49 Posted by Jesper Johannesen

 

With Paris-Nice kicking the European part of the WorldTour calender off on Sunday, a number of the world's finest GC contenders are aiming to deal an early-season blow to their competitors. One of them is Robert Gesink who heads a very strong Blanco team in the French 8-day race.

 

Blanco has had an incredible start to the season. With 10 victories with 6 different riders, the team is on a roll and ready to prove to potential sponsors that an investment in the team has great benefits. Paris-Nice is the first major European stage race of the year, and the team looks to keep the ball rolling by producing a strong effort in the season's second WorldTour event after the team won the first one with Tom-Jelte Slagter.

 

The man responsible for fulfilling these hopes is one of the team's main GC riders Robert Gesink who will lead the team when the race kicks off with a 3,9 km prologue on Sunday. Gesink has had a strong start to the season with a fourth place finish in the hard one-day race Vuelta a Murcia and an encouraging showing in Vuelta a Andalucia where only an untimely shower during the prologue prevented a higher overall finish than 14th. As a former winner of the Tour of California and Tour of Oman and multuple podium finishes in WorldTour stage races, he is a proven contender in week-long stage races.

 

Gesink is optimistic in view of the upcoming challenges.

 

“Last week my condition has been good," Gesink said. "I have finished Ruta del Sol, Murcia and Almeria with a good feeling. The team has started the season with an important victory of Tom-Jelte Slagter in the World Tour. Ten victories in total for the team already, not a bad start at all I think."

 

Gesink will be surrounded by a strong team in the French stage race. The team is designed with a view to supporting him on both the flat, windy stages in the first part of the races and on the climbs in the last half. Gesink feels comfortable with the situation.

 

"For Paris-Nice I am surrounded by strong guys. Especially our youngsters Kelderman and Kruijswijk helping me on the climbs is a comfortable feeling. Working with these guys could set the standard for the rest of the year. I keep good memories of Paris-Nice and will start with confidence,” Gesink said.

 

Sport director Nico Verhoeven is also satisfied with support from the team. He sees a well-balanced team around Gesink.

 

“Our main focus will be the general classification with our leader Robert Gesink," Verhoeven said. With Wilco and Steven we have three guys for the difficult uphill stages. In the flat stages we have strong guys like Flens and Tjallingii surrounding Robert to protect the GC."

 

The team also brings sprinter Mark Renshaw to the race. With his recent victory in Clasica de Almeria, he is on a roll, and supported by David Tanner he will get his chances in the expected bunch sprints in the first part of the race. Verhoeven is, however, very clear when he points to the team's main focus.

 

" On the other hand we will have Renshaw for finishing it off in a peloton sprint, but our absolute priority will be the general classification,” Verhoeven emphasized.

 

Paris-Nice starts on Sunday with a short, technical 3,9 km prologue. After a number of flat and undulating stages, the battle for GC reaches its climax with the mountaintop finish on Montagne de Lure on Friday, a hard mountain stage in the climbs around Nice on Saturday and the final, legendary time trial up Col d'Eze on Sunday.

 

Blanco for Paris-Nice:

Stef Clement, Robert Gesink, Wilco Kelderman, Steven Kruijswijk, Mark Renshaw, Rick Flens, David Tanner and Maarten Tjallingii

 

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