Synergy Baku rider Dennis van Winden has made the jump back up to the WorldTour having recently inked a deal with LottoNL-Jumbo and, according to a press release from Synergy Baku, he could be in the running to participate in the upcoming Giro d'Italia, which starts with a team time trial on May 9 from San Lorenzo al Mare to San Remo.
"In the short period of four months that I was with Synergy Baku Cycling Project, I saw and learned a lot. And I also made some good friends, who I won't lose. I want to thank everyone at Synergy Baku for what they did for me," van Winden said.
"And I am happy that they are also happy for me to go back to the World Tour, since this has always been my dream! My thanks go to all Synergy Baku Cycling Project riders, soigneurs, mechanics and the people who work day in, day out to support this project."
Van Winden spent the previous five seasons with the WorldTour team under its former titles Rabobank (2010-2012) and Blanco/Belkin (2013 and 2014). However, he didn't make the cut for the 2015 season when the team changed its title sponsor to LottoNL-Jumbo.
LottoNL-Jumbo team director Richard Plugge cited a number of injuries with in his roster as a big reason for bringing van Winden back onto the team, especially ahead of the Giro d’Italia.
"Due to some injured riders we needed to strengthen our team. We followed Dennis van Winden after his departure from our team and saw his development. We contacted Synergy Baku Cycling Project to see if we could get Dennis back. We are happy that Synergy Baku Cycling Project helped us and did the best they could to make this move possible."
Van Winden's career highlights include a third place in a stage at the Vuelta a España in 2012, winning the Dutch time trial championships along with stages at the Olympia's Tour and Vuelta Ciclista a León in 2009, and winning the overall classification at Haut Anjou in 2008.
While racing at the Continental level this season, van Winden has had two top-10 finishes at the UCI 2.2 Istarsko proljece - Istrian Spring Trophy and three top 10s at the recent UCI 2.2 Le Tour de Bretagne Cycliste trophée harmonie Mutuelle.
LottoNL-Jumbo announced their nine-man roster for the Giro d'Italia on Monday, which did not include van Winden. The announcement stated that Steven Kruijswijk, who was eighth overall in the 2011 edition and was third in a stage in 2010, will lead the team at the Italian Grand Tour in a bid for a top place in the overall classification.
"I've been working on, since last winter, this year's Giro d'Italia, which was a conscious goal by me and my team," Kruijswijk said. "My team gives me the confidence and the chance to go as leader for a brief classification of riders around me who will stand by me. I would like to meet the expectations that I have awakened in my first two seasons with two good Giros."
Moreno Hofland will focus on the sprints. He brought the Dutch team its first win of the season during stage 2 at the Tour de Yorkshire.
LottoNL-Jumbo’s Giro d'Italia roster, as of Monday, includes Steven Kruijswijk, Moreno Hofland, George Bennett, Rick Flange, Martijn Keizer, Nick van der One, Bert-Jan Lindeman, Maarten Tjallingii and Robert Wagner. The team has not yet said whether van Winden will take the place of one of those riders.