Denis Menchov, Oscar Freire and Thomas Dekker top Rabobank's preliminary selection for this year's Tour de France, but sport director Erik Breukink warned that nobody had a definite start place. Included in the 14 rider list is eight Dutch riders.
"Everything depends on the shape," said Breukink on rabobank.nl. "If shortly before the Tour the shape is not what it should be, then that rider will not start. It doesn't matter who; there are not exceptions."
Among the Dutch riders is one surprise, Pieter Weening. The 27 year-old has not raced yet this season because of a knee injury. "He is still hindered by it," Breukink said. "Pieter cannot put pressure on the knee, but he can do endurance training. Progress is being made."
Weening is scheduled to make his season debut at the Volta a Catalunya, May 19, to be followed by the Dauphiné Libéré. Weening may be on the Tour list, but Breukink doubted that he would make the final cut.
"It will be tough and Pieter knows that very well, but he has always been of solid and useful value during the Tour," he said. "We will first see how he fares in Catalonia and the Dauphiné."
One name missing from the roster is Robert Gesink, but Breukink explained that the team and 21 year-old rider had agreed over the winter that he would not ride the Tour this year.
"We are not going to reverse that decision," he said. "Robert has had a heavy spring season. Right now, we are going to take things a more slowly. At any rate, the Tour still comes too early in his career. His next test will be the Dauphiné, followed perhaps by the Olympic Games and for sure the Vuelta."
Rabobank's preliminary Tour de France roster: Denis Menchov, Oscar Freire, Thomas Dekker, Joost Posthuma, Juan Antonio Flecha, Laurens ten Dam, Bram Tankink, Sebastian Langeveld, Koos Moerenhout, Grischa Niermann, Pedro Horrillo, Bram de Groot, Mauricio Ardila and Pieter Weening.