“Every Dutch team or rider has this race circled in red on the calendar,” explained Sports Director Nico Verhoeven. “Last year, we picked up the victory with Lars and we really enjoyed that. Lars is again our leader together with Wilco Kelderman.” Boom’s 2012 title adds some extra pressure, said Verhoeven, but not a sense of noblesse oblige. “There are several strong teams. And besides that, the parcours is slightly more selective than in previous years.”
Opportunities and pitfalls
The first four flat stages serve up opportunities and pitfalls for Team Belkin. “Lars and Wilco will need to be focused during those days, you can lose the race there,” Verhoeven said. “On the other hand, we have a strong sprint train that will give Theo Bos a chance to win. Theo is one of the best sprinters in the world.” The Dutchman underscored his status in the Ster ZLM Tour, where he defeated Mark Cavendish, André Greipel and Marcel Kittel.
Boom looking at title defence
Lars Boom is determined to defend his title. He finished the Tour de France in a good shape and with ambitions. “Last year, I took the victory, which remains the goal again for this year. Wilco and I can help each other, which makes us both stronger.”
Team line-up: Lars Boom, Theo Bos, Graeme Brown, Jos van Emden, Wilco Kelderman, Mark Renshaw, Bram Tankink and Maarten Tjallingii – Sports Directors: Nico Verhoeven, Merijn Zeeman and Frans Maassen.