Niki Terpstra (QuickStep) will line-up at this week's Ster ZLM Toer, looking to fine tune his form before the Tour de France. The current Dutch national champion last raced at the Tour of Belgium where he finished sixth overall, but after a high-altitude training camp in the French Alps will be aiming to further improve on that result in Holland.
"I think Niki's counting on putting in a standout performance," said QuickStep sports director Rik Van Slycke from the team’s hotel in Alblasserdam. "For him this race is a fundamental step on the road that will take him to the Tour de France."
Van Slycke feels that the race is well-suited to Terpstra’s skills, although the Dutchman will face stiff competition from a number of high profile and in-form riders including Philippe Gilbert (Omega-Pharma Lotto) and Sebastian Langeveld (Rabobank).
"The route, is a tailor fit for Niki's skills," said Van Slycke confidently, "but we'll just have to wait and see how the race transpires - our team has plenty of options."
Terpstra will be supported by a strong QuickStep line-up that includes French star Jérôme Pineau and fellow countryman Addy Engels who are both bringing good form from their rides at the Giro d’Italia.
"Yes they [Pineau and Engels] will be there; and they may try to make some moves. [Kevin] Van Impe, [Nikolas] Maes and [Guillaume] Van Keirsbulck will also be riding in support of Niki, while for the sprints the team can count on [Andreas] Stauff and [Fréderique] Robert," concluded Van Slycke.
The Ster ZLM Toer begins on Wednesday June 15 with a seven prologue stage through the streets of Alblasserdam.
QuickStep for Ster ZLM Toer: