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Lotto Belisol: Tour preview by André Greipel and Jurgen Van den Broeck
logolottobelisol14 Tomorrow it’s the Grand Départ of the 101st Tour de France, in Leeds. Lotto Belisol team captains André Greipel and Jurgen Van den Broeck talk about their expectations for the next three weeks.

Happy to be here
Jurgen Van den Broeck: “I’m a bit nervous at the eve of the start. Yesterday it was exactly one year since my crash in the Tour. I’m happy to be here. The teams’ presentation is always a nice moment, but yesterday it was really impressive. There were almost 12.000 spectators in the Leeds Arena. The opening weekend is tricky; not flat, possibly windy. You have to see not to waste much energy. As a GC rider you have to be alert on such days. Just like in Corsica last year the first days are dangerous, that’s typical for the first week.”

Relaxed after Dauphiné
“I have Bart De Clercq and Tony Gallopin to support me. Thanks to the help of Tony I could claim the third place in the GC of the Dauphiné in the final stage. That podium place gave me an extra good feeling, although the Dauphiné was already successful for me after the first days. This performance gave me confidence and was relaxing. I could start the last weeks of training with a good feeling. Training camps in the mountains are part of modern cycling. I’ve been doing it for six years. My condition always benefits from it.”

Take the course as it is
“You have to take the course as it is and adjust yourself to it. There is one time trial this year. If that’s and advantage? Two years ago there were two long time trials and I got fourth. The Vosges are an important part of the race. I did a recon of those stages. That will be tough ones. Alberto Contador and Chris Froome are the two candidates for the overall victory. Behind them it’s an open battle. There are ten to twelve candidates for the places behind top two. I think for example of Rui Costa, Bauke Mollema, Vincenzo Nibali, Andrew Talansky, Alejandro Valverde and Tejay Van Garderen.”

Warm welcome
André Greipel: “We’ve experienced a warm welcome here in Yorkshire the past few days. I’m looking forward to the Tour start. Tomorrow’s finish suits me. The finish is slightly uphill. The middle of the course is pretty tough. The narrow roads don’t make it easy. The first stage is always a nervous one. It could be we don’t sprint with a compact bunch tomorrow. The profile of the second stage isn’t suited for someone like me. I’m not a climber.”

Yellow is a nice colour
“Every race there’s pressure to take the win with the sprint train. If we would win tomorrow that pressure will disappear. Whoever wins in Harrogate, takes the leader’s jersey. I think yellow is a nice colour (laughs). In any case the Tour isn’t over after tomorrow. There will be other opportunities. I if don’t win tomorrow, but take two stage wins later – among it the one on the Champs-Elysées – that would also be great (laughs).”

Team is stronger than ever
“Apart from Mark Cavendish and Marcel Kittel there are definitely other guys to keep an eye on, like Bryan Coquard, John Degenkolb, Arnaud Démare, Sacha Modolo and Peter Sagan. It could be interesting bunch sprints. I expect that the team will often make the difference. My team is the same as the previous two years, that’s definitely an advantage. Everyone knows one another and knows what the others will do in a certain situation. There’s a big friendship between us. That makes it easier to suffer together. The team is stronger than ever and we want to show this on the roads of the Tour. We are ready.”

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