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Lotto Belisol: Press conference on the eve of the Tour
lotto650big On Friday afternoon, Jurgen Van den Broeck, André Greipel and team manager Marc Sergeant have given us a preview of their Tour de France. Tomorrow it will be the 5th time Van den Broeck starts off in La Grande Boucle. For Greipel it will be his 3rd time at the Grand Départ. Last year Van den Broeck ended up in fourth place of the GC, and on the 21st of July, we will see if he can make his dream come true: being on the top three podium. Greipel won three stages last year and this year he will also try to dominate at least one sprint. Marc Sergeant certainly shows great confidence in the team:

Marc Sergeant: “In this Tour de France we reach for the same objectives as last year: winning a sprint with Greipel and setting a high result in the GC with Jurgen Van den Broeck. 3rd place in the GC is of course a goal, but absolutely no evidence. Van den Broeck felt a bit ill during the Dauphiné but since his training in Sierra Nevada feels ready to start off tomorrow. The team did not undergo that much changes compared to last year. Of course there is the regrettable absence of Jelle Vanendert, who cannot join us because of his stomache problems. We have extended the team with Bart De Clercq and Frederik Willems. I really have a lot of confidence in the team.”

André Greipel likewise shows a lot of confidence in the team and in his sprint train:

André Greipel: “The first week is always very hectic and unpredictable. Tomorrow it will be about the jellow jersey, but that doesn’t make me nervous. For me the most important goal is to win the stage and I put out of mind the jellow jersey as much as possible. Of course it is a wish to once wear that highly desired jersey, but the team focusses in the first place on winning a stage.”

Jurgen Van den Broeck feels just like André Greipel relatively relaxed the day before the departure:

Jurgen Van den Broeck: “After the Dauphiné I had the chance to recover. There’s not much you can do about being ill, so I don’t question myself. During my training in Sierra Nevada, I noticed that my legs felt good. At the Belgian Championship I also gave my best to test my shape. So tomorrow I will start off with a good feeling. It is important that I’m very concentrated from scratch, that my legs feel good and that I get a dose of good luck.

The absence of a prologue this year can cause surprises. Normally during a prologue the GC is formed for the first time, but now on Corsica it can turn out very differently. It will be a nervous, hectic and tricky struggle. During the stage where we are heading towards the Mont Ventoux at the 14th of July and after the rest day at the 15th of July the Tour can be decided on each day because all stages are very heavy from then. From that moment on it is not possible anymore to recover. Winning a stage is not per se an objective, but it would be the ideal scenario to saveguard a potential good ranking in the GC. In general I think this year Froome will atack more. Last year sky was constantly speeding up so a lot of riders were left behind. This year I predict a nicer and more interesting race to watch.

As for the rest I have a lot of confidence in the team. Since the team did not undergo that much changes compared to last year we know each other very well and we are very complementary. It’s too bad Jelle Vanandert has to miss out on the Tour this year, but with Frederik Willems and Bart De Clercq, two strong riders have joined us. The fact that it’s De Clercq his first appearance does not have to be a disadvantage. For example Jelle did win during his first Tour de France in 2011 a stage in the Pyrenees. Furthermore De Cercq is an exellent rider uphill and this will be his third great tour in which he participates.”


 

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