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“First of all, we want to ride a good classification with Laurens ten Dam. During the winter, we made a plan with him wherein the Dauphiné formed a primary goal," sports director Merijn Zeeman says

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BRAM TANKINK

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CRITERIUM DU DAUPHINE

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DAVID TANNER

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JUAN MANUEL GARATE

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LAURENS TEN DAM

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ROBERT WAGNER

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STEF CLEMENT

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TEAM JUMBO-VISMA

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TOM-JELTE SLAGTER

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30.05.2013 @ 08:00 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

On Sunday the first of the big two preparation races for the Tour de France, the Criterium du Dauphine starts with a road stage around the Swiss city of Champery, and Blanco will line up with an ambitious team with a number of objectives. First and foremost the team aims to put Laurens Ten Dam as high up on GC as possible while time trial specialist Stef Clement will target the race against the clock and Tom-Jelte Slagter hopes to win a stage.

 

The Tour contenders usually split in two during the month of June with one half heading to France to contest the Criterium du Dauphine and the other half taking on the Tour de Suisse. Early in the year Blanco had three designated leaders for the Tour, and while Robert Gesink will take a short rest after his Giro participation, the duo of Laurens Ten Dam and Bauke Mollema will split up with Ten Dam spearheading the team in the Dauphine and Mollema targeting the Swiss stage race.

 

Ten Dam was a very aggressive presence in last year's Tour when the team's three-pronged GC attack with Gesink, Mollema and Steven Kruijswijk fell apart, and his many strong breakaways made sure that the team was visible in an otherwise disappointing race. Less than two months later he showed that he has what it takes to contest the GC in a grand tour when he finished 8th in the Vuelta, thus earning his role as one of several captains for this year's edition of the Grande Boucle.

 

Before he lines up on Corsica to start his Tour campaign, he hopes to get a confidence boost by finishing as high up on GC as possible in the Criterium du Dauphine. Early on the race has been marked out as one of his season objectives, and while he will struggle in the completely flat time trial, he will found the many hilly and mountainous stages to his liking.

 

“First of all, we want to ride a good classification with Laurens ten Dam.”, sports director Merijn Zeeman said upon naming the line-up for the race. “During the winter, we made a plan with him wherein the Dauphiné formed a primary goal. Laurens will enjoy a protected status and have a free hand. As a team, we’ll support him in the best possible way.”

 

There are not many, if any at all, opportunities for the sprinters and so the team will not target sprint finishes. Instead, the team will target stage wins in the time trial with Stef Clement - who finished the Giro strongly and took top 10 results in both individual races against the clock - and in the hilly, non-mountaintop finishes with Tom-Jelte Slagter. While the Tour Down Under winner is unable to follow the best in high mountains, shorter climbs suit him well and he has a fast finish to finish off the work. He has just finished an aggressive performance in the Tour of Belgium.

 

“We’re looking for Stef to ride a good time trial on the fourth day," Zeeman explained. "As for Tom-Jelte Slagter, we’re aiming for a few of the trickier arrivals and by that I mean the arrivals falling just outside the category of high mountains.”

 

Should it come down to a sprint, the team has Robert Wagner in its line-up and he will be duly supported by David Tanner who could also take his own chance in a harder finish. Juan Manuel Garate will use his Giro form to support Ten Dam in the mountains while young stage race talent Marc Goos will gain experience from his participation in one of the sport's biggest races. Finally, strong man Bram Tankink will show off the kind of form that saw him finish 13th in the Bayern Rundfahrt last week.

 

“Finally, we want the entire team to ride aggressively”, Zeeman said “Additionally, it is going to be a chance for some of our riders to improve their form ahead of the Tour.”

 

The Criterium du Dauphine starts on Sunday with a hilly stage around Champery and finishes one week later with a mountaintop finish in Risoul.

 

Blanco Pro Cycling for the Criterium du Dauphine:

Laurens Ten Dam, Stef Clement, Tom-Jelte Slagter, Juan Manuel Garate, Robert Wagner, David Tanner, Bram Tankink and Marc Goos

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