Last year's stage winner backs his team leader for the Tour
Jelle Vanendert enjoyed a break-out year at the 2011 Tour de France, winning stage 14 to Plateau de Beille and taking third overall in the mountains classification. This year however, he will be at the disposal once again, of his team leader Jurgen Van Den Broeck and is unlikely to enjoy the same feats as the previous edition.
"I will be much more in his service, but that does not mean that I completely forget about my ambitions" he said on lavenir.net.
Last year Vanendert jumped at the opportunity presented to him when his team leader Jurgen Van Den Broeck was forced out due to a terrible crash on stage nine. Van Den Broeck suffered a collapsed lung, three broken ribs and a broken shoulder blade.
Vanendert quickly filled his lost teammate’s spot by coming close to winning the stage up to Luz-Ardiden, following Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) until the final moments when the Spaniard got the better of him. He continued his aggressive ways by winning stage fourteen and rode into Paris with a respectable 19th overall in the general classification.
This year he’s stated that he will support Van Den Broek completely but if he’s given the chance, the mountains jersey may be a target.
"Assisting Jurgen means that in the mountain stages I have to try to go with him as long as possible. This means I will collect points automatically. I'm not going to focus on the polka dot jersey, but I want to participate and go for a stage victory. If I am not too high in the standings, I should be able to slip into a breakaway" he said.