By Susan Westemeyer
Rabobank's Denis Menchov will not defend his title in the Vuelta a España but will turn his sights to the Tour de France. He will prepare for it by riding the Giro d'Italia, team leader Erik Breukink announced Monday at Team Rabobank's team presentation in Rotterdam.
"The programme he will ride this year is for the most part his own wish," announced Breukink. "Denis is good for a very long time after a major tour, [and] can even improve [more], that is why."
The Russian will also contest Liège-Bastogne-Liège for the first time with the Rabobank squad. "I want to try something new in preparation to the Tour de France," explained Menchov. "That is still the most important course."
The team has six newcomers for the 2008 season. Tom Leezer and Bauke Mollema come from the Rabobank Development Team. Laurens Ten Dam rode for Unibet.com last year, Bram Tankink from Quick Step, and Paul Martens from Skil-Shimano. Michiel Elijzen returns to the Dutch team after two years with Cofidis.
Michael Boogerd may have retired from racing but he will remain associated with Rabobank – both the team and the bank. He will do promotion for the bank, while his tasks with the cycling operation is still being determined.
"Michael will stay involved with the team," said acting team manager Henri van der Aart. "We do not know in what way yet. He will first go through a training programme and then we will look for a function that best suits his qualities. We want to treat Michael with care."
For more information on Rabobank or any other ProTour team's roster, see our 2008 team database.