Skil-Shimano already knows its goals for its first Tour de France this summer. They are "basically the same as it is for most other races we start: riding offensively, attractively and with a good team spirit."
The Dutch Professional Continental Team received one of three wild card invitations to ride the 2009 Tour de France.
"We are grateful for the confidence Direction Cyclisme A.S.O. shows in our organisation and our vision," said team manager Iwan Spekenbrink. He noted that the team has grown in the past two years, "in terms of both organisation and the potential of our riders. We have become a lot stronger in terms of breadth and our riders have shown they can compete at the highest level."
The team most recently brought in top results at Paris-Nice, where 23-year-old French rider Jonathan Hivert finished eighth overall..
The team is sponsored by the Dutch firm Skil, which makes electrical tools, and the Japanese cycle component manufacturer Shimano. The 22 riders come from seven different nations, and include two Japanese and three Chinese riders.
The team says that in addition to its international character, its core values include "investment in the development of young and not so young riders; special attention for innovation in many areas, including training guidance and equipment; and the practice of elite sport in accordance with the strictest ethical principles."(SW)