Henderson selected to finally make his debut
Lotto Belisol has announced their line-up for the Tour de France with André Greipel's sprint train forming the nucleus of the squad.
The German sprinter joins Lars Bak, Francis De Greef, Adam Hansen, Greg Henderson, Jürgen Roelandts, Marcel Sieberg, Jurgen Van den Broeck and Jelle Vanendert with Jurgen Van de Walle listed as a reserve.
Sports director Marc Sergeant is pleased with the final selection but admitted it created some headaches.
"I think I might say we have a balanced and homogeneous selection of riders who already proved themselves to be ready at the right moment and who can manage on different terrains," he explained in a team press release.
"Obviously we had to make some decisions, but every year that's the case. Francis De Greef had a good Giro, is very solid and can go a long way in the mountains. After the Giro we decided not enter him at the Dauphiné or Tour of Switzerland, because the preparation would have been too hard. Adam Hansen also proved in the last week of the Giro that he is able to climb and is in shape at the right time."
Among those to have missed out, Bart De Clercq, a stage winner at the Giro d'Italia in 2011, showed solid climbing form at the Tour de Suisse but Sergeant believes that he is still one year away from being able to match it with the best at the Tour de France. Frederik Willems was struggling with form, while Van de Walle's performance art the Dauphine was only enough to secure his role as 10th man.
Greg Henderson has shown his considerable influence on the team's sprint train since joining the team at the start of the year, and at 35 makes his longed-for debut at the Tour.
"So happy. This is gonna be big. This is gonna get personal. Dream come true. Enjoy the journey. So grateful for the support. Very emotional." He wrote on his Twitter feed.
Sergent concluded by explaining that his team's biggest advantage was that they go to the Tour with clear goals.
"With our team, and especially with Jurgen Van den Broeck, we aim for the best general ranking possible," he explained. "Next to that, there are a couple of stages in which Jelle Vanendert can have a go. André Greipel worked his way up to the Tour and supported by Greg Henderson, Jürgen Roelandts and Marcel Sieberg, he gets the great sprinting train which has showed its skills during the last weeks. Riders like Roelandts, Bak and Hansen also might have a chance in the transit stages."