Ten Dam spearheads Blanco line-up for Critérium du Dauphiné

Clement, Garate back up after Giro d'Italia

Laurens ten Dam will lead Blanco to the Critérium du Dauphiné when the WorldTour event begins this Sunday in Champery.

The eight-stage race looms as a key test, not just for the 32-year-old but also for the rest of the squad with spots in the Tour de France line-up up for grabs.

The Dauphiné represents a shift for ten Dam who in previous seasons has raced the Tour de Suisse in the lead up to the Tour.

"During the winter, we made a plan with him wherein the Dauphiné formed a primarily goal," explained sports director Merijn Zeeman. "Laurens will enjoy a protected status and have a free hand. As a team, we'll support him in the best possible way."

Stef Clement meanwhile will be coming off a Giro d'Italia where he finished in the top-10 in each of the two individual time trials with the discipline again his priority on Stage 4 of the Dauphiné, a 32.5km race against the clock. Juanma Garate is the other rider with the short break following the Giro.

"As for Tom-Jelte Slagter, we're aiming for a few of the trickier arrivals and by that I mean the arrivals falling just within the category of high mountain," continued Zeeman.

"Finally, we want the entire team to ride aggressively", he added. "Additionally, it is going to be a chance for some of our riders to improve their form ahead of the Tour."

The Blanco squad for the Critérium du Dauphiné: Laurens ten Dam, Tom-Jelte Slagter, Juanma Garate, Robert Wagner, David Tanner, Bram Tankink, Marc Goos and Stef Clement

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