Team LottoNL-Jumbo starts the Vuelta a España on Saturday with Steven Kruijswijk as its general classification leader.
“We’re going to Spain with a strong team,” said Kruijswijk. “We have riders who can assist me uphill, but also men who will support me on the flats.
“The main goal is to fight for the classification. It is nice that the big GC guys will start in the Vuelta, that gives me motivation and I can measure myself against the best.
“After the Giro d’Italia, I had a lot of rest to recover from my crash and the race. In preparation for the Vuelta, I have not ridden many races. It was planned that way to start as fresh as possible.“
Sports Director Addy Engels emphasised the goal in this race. “We have the team built entirely around Steven. A team with men who strongly ride uphill, as well some guys for the flat. Uphill, it’s always handy to have riders with you, but on the flat, it is just as important, which is why there are men like Jos van Emden and Martijn Keizer in the team.
“Koen Bouwman and Victor Campenaerts, two young riders, will race their first grand tour. I expect them to certainly play a role uphill.
“The big goal is the GC for Steven Kruijswijk, but we will definitely try for breakaways. We have a team with different qualities.”
“After the Olympic road race, I got sick and I had to adjust my training schedule,” added Kruijswijk. “It is disappointing that I had to finish the final part of my preparation that way.”
“At this moment, I feel better. Now it’s important to get through the first stages.”
“It’s wait and see how he recovers,” said Sports Director Engels. “It’s never nice when you have to handle a setback ahead of a grand tour. Once Steven is again in top condition, he can fight for the podium like he did in the Giro.”
Robert Gesink starts in the Vuelta a España, his first grand tour of the year. In the Tour de Suisse, Gesink crashed and didn’t manage to start the Tour de France because of a concussion.
”Of course, we’ve to wait how Gesink will be, if he is fit he can support me very well,” Kruijswijk said.
Gesink is looking forward to the Vuelta after he missed an important part of the season due to his concussion. “The Vuelta is an important race towards 2017. I start without high expectations and hope to find my recovery ability and support the team.”
LottoNl-Jumbo line-up for Vuelta a Espana: Steven Kruijswijk, Robert Gesink, Bram Tankink, Jos van Emden, Koen Bouwman, Victor Campenaerts, Martijn Keizer, Enrico Battaglin en George Bennett.
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