Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) has enjoyed a successful run of form in the Classics over the last few weeks, with good finishes at the Tour of Flanders (sixth) and Paris-Roubaix (fifth) plus victory at Dwars door Vlaanderen and a key role in teammate Tom Boonen's unprecedented run of results this spring. And now that he has had time to reflect on his season so far and discuss his targets for the remainder of the year with sporting director Patrick Lefevere, he has revealed that he will skip this year's Tour de France.
"The Tour de France does not really fit in my program," Terpstra told De Telegraaf. "I will ride the Vuelta a Espana, because that is again ideal preparation for the road world championships. So I have had to choose between the two great races, because both are certainly not possible in a year like this.
"I have started the Tour four years in a row now. In 2010, I got sick and unfortunately had to go home two days after the prologue, and in the other three cases I have had little chance of a stage victory. Everyone in the team is also in full agreement with me that the Olympics and world championship races have been better for me to peak.
"This doesn't mean that in future I will never start the Tour again, but my next big goal is the national championships on the road in late June in Kerkrade," said the 2010 Dutch national champion.