The Blanco Pro Cycling team, formerly known as Rabobank, will send an Australian-packed team to the opening WorldTour race of the 2013 season, the Santos Tour Down Under. New signings Jack Bobridge and David Tanner will make their debut with the team that is still looking for a headline sponsor while sprinters Mark Renshaw and Graeme Brown are also included in the seven-man squad.
The remaining spots in the Blanco line-up will be filled by Wilco Kelderman, Tom-Jelte Slagter and Maarten Tjallingii.
"The 2013 Santos Tour Down Under will be a special race for the Blanco Cycling Team, it is going to be a fresh, new start. The first page of a beautiful story will be written," said team manager Erik Dekker.
Bobridge was a surprise move from Orica-GreenEdge at the end of this season however, with his renewed focus on the road the young rider believes the Dutch outfit can provide him with an ideal place for development. The 2011 Australian road and former under-23 world time trial champion has committed to spending the next two seasons with Blanco.
"Bobridge is a great young rider who made his WorldTour debut at the Santos Tour Down Under back in 2009 and is always popular with the crowds," said Tour Down Under race director Mike Turtur.
"He's had a good season with a silver medal in the team pursuit at the London Olympics and also won silver in the team and individual pursuits at the 2012 UCI Track World Championships," he said.
David Tanner is another Australian making his way through the WorldTour ranks and moved from Saxo-Tinkoff after two year's with the squad owned and run by Bjarne Riis. Tanner has proved to be a capable rider in the tougher one-day races but has been signed primarily to assist in the lead-out trains for Blanco's sprinters Theo Bos and Mark Renshaw.
"With four Aussies competing on home soil they will be aiming to show a competitive form to their Australian supporters. With the top sprinter in the team, being Mark Renshaw, he is determined to see this team be successful and make an impact. Our two young riders who are great cycling talent, Wilco Kelderman and Tom-Jelte Slagter will aim for a top 10 result in the GC," said Dekker.
"The team is committed to perform at the highest possible level in Santos Tour Down Under and is 100% focused and motivated."
The Blanco ProCycling team for Tour Down Under: Jack Bobridge (Aus), Graeme Brown (Aus), Wilco Kelderman (Ned), Mark Renshaw (Aus), Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned), David Tanner (AUS) and Maarten Tjallingii (Ned).
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