Sergeant pleased with Lotto Belisol line-up
With Gianni Meersman having recovered from knee pain, which ruled him out of Fleche Wallonne or Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Lotto Belisol has confirmed its line-up for the 95th edition of the Giro d'Italia.
There are no changed to the roster which was hinted at a fortnight ago and manager Marc Sergeant believes that his is a team with a "clearly defined purpose" for the Grand Tour which gets underway on Saturday in Herning, Denmark.
"I personally went to the presentation and meeting and it was was immediately clear that a number of stages fit Gianni Meersman like a glove, with a steep finish," he said. "Gianni has been working up to the Giro and knows how to pick his races."
Bart de Clercq takes on the Giro for the second year-running, having won stage 7 in 2011 as a neo pro, going on to finish 26th overall. De Clercq spent last week working on his time trialing.
Sergeant said that while Francis De Greef and De Clearcq are important members of the Lotto Belisol team with a proven track record, it's important not to put the pair under too much pressure.
"We can't make the mistake of pushing them towards the top 10, but a place in the top 20 is realistic," he admitted. "In this way it might be possible for one of them to slip away in an escape from the peloton, and lift their rankings."
Adam Hansen has recovered from his crash on stage 6 at the Tour of Turkey where he was lucky to escape a serious shoulder injury.
Neo pros Dennis Vanendert, Brian Bulgac and Gaetan Bille are all making their Grand Tour debut with Sergeant saying that the Giro will be a "journey of discovery" while for Lark Bak, the 2012 Giro holds special significance with the Danish grand depart.
"After he broke his hand [at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad], he did everything to get fit in time and in Romandie he just missed the mountains jersey, for which he had gained a lot of points in a long escape," said Sergeant.
Lotto Belisol team for the Giro d'Italia: Lars Bak, Gaetan Bille, Bulgac Brian, Bart De Clercq, Francis De Greef, Adam Hansen, Olivier Kaisen, Gianni Meersman, Dennis Vanendert.
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