The Dutch crossed the border into Germany this week to check out the course for the World Championships in Stuttgart. Protected from the usual traffic by police cars, Michael Boogerd and Thomas Dekker took their fist ride on the course.
They were accompanied by national trainer Egon van Kessel. Boogerd is "our most important rider. The course is good for him, because it is difficult," said Egon van Kessel, according to a press release from the race organizers. The Dutch rider announced earlier this year that he would retire at the end of the season.
After an unsuccessful Spring Classics season, he is now taking a one-month racing break before beginning his preparations for the Tour de France and later the Worlds.
Van Kessel doesn't see his riders as favourites in the Worlds, saying that would more likely be "Stefan Schumacher, Paolo Bettini or Oscar Freire." However, the Dutch team will hope for a lot of fan support along the road.
"After all it's only a few hours' ride from Holland to Stuttgart!"