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Robert Gesink will be hoping to ride off the front at the Tour de France this year
Cannondale finalize team
Dutch team Belkin will bring a strong Australian contingent when they line up at the 2014 Santos Tour Down Under with Robert Gesink a hopeful for the overall ochre jersey. Aussie cyclists Jack Bobridge, Graeme Brown and David Tanner will all ride in of support of Gesink. This year’s edition of the race will be Brown's 12th appearance at the Tour Down Under.
Santos Tour Down Under Race Director Mike Turtur says there will be plenty of support for the Belkin Pro Cycling team from Australian crowds. "Graeme Brown is one of the most experienced Australian cyclists in the peloton and it is fantastic to see Adelaide boy Jack Bobridge going from strength to strength on the UCI WorldTour circuit," Turtur said.
"Robert Gesink had a solid season and capped it off with a win at the UCI WorldTour Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec where he stormed home to beat the likes of Rui Costa and Tom-Jelte Slagter.
"Cycling fans can expect lots of attacking from Belkin Pro Cycling and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the team represented on a couple of podiums throughout the race."
Jack Bobridge proved to be a strong contender in the hills at the 2013 Tour Down Under, finishing second in the Škoda King of the Mountain classification.
Gesink and the Australian contingent will be joined by Dutch cyclists Stef Clement, Rick Flens and Bram Tankink.
Belkin will be led by manager Erik Dekker and includes the following riders: Robert Gesink, Jack Bobridge, Stef Clement, Graeme Brown, Rick Flens, David Tanner and Bram Tankink.
Viviani and Bennet headline Cannondale team
New Zealander George Bennett will headline Cannondale’s tilt at the overall in his debut race with his new team while Elia Viviani will be a strong addition to the team after the Italian recorded an outstanding season in 2013 including stage wins in the Critérium du Dauphiné and the Tour of Britain.
"With Viviani to take care of the sprints and Bennett well suited to the challenging climbs of Corkscrew Road and Willunga Hill, we can expect to see the green jersey of Cannondale Pro Cycling at the front of the peloton," Turtur said.
"The seven-man roster includes cyclists of six different nationalities and Australia will be represented by former lightweight rower Cameron Wurf.
Under-23 World Road Race Champion Slovenian Matej Mohoric will make his WorldTour and Tour Down Under debut having secured his first pro contract.
Cannondale will be led by manager Biagio Conte with the following riders partaking in the season opener: George Bennett, Alberto Bettiol, Guillaume Boivin, Matthias Krizek, Matej Mohoric, Elia Viviani and Cameron Wurf.