De Gendt warms up for Tour de France in California

Vacansoleil-DCM has announced its roster for the team's first appearance at the Tour of California next week, with a well-rounded mix of riders set to start in Escondido.

The team has so far earned just one win for the season via Thomas De Gendt at the Volta Catalunya in March, and question marks have been raised as to the future of the Dutch team with the sponsorship contract with camping holiday operator, Vacansoleil ending later this year. The squad in California will no doubt be hoping their luck starts to turn.

"It is a new race for us and it fits the program perfectly," said sport director Hilaire Van Der Schueren. "I understand that the 2013 race is hard, has great roads and eight days if a perfect length to get some racing in the legs. We come to the start with some riders coming from a rest period and who worked towards this race. I am confident we will get nice results in some stages."

Some members of the squad will be using the 2.HC race as preparation for the Tour de France, specifically De Gendt who missed the grand boucle in 2012 due to his wedding following an impressive performance at the Giro d'Italia.

"Our team of sport directors and trainers looked at how we can create a team that is ready for the Tour physically and mentally," explained Van Der Schueren. "This is about individual physical preparation but also about creating a group which cares for each other. Nearly all riders we are thinking about for the Tour de France are fresh after a rest and/or training period. Part of the pre-selection for the Tour goes to California after which some go to Belgium and others do altitude training. This will be followed by training on the cooperation in the group with a team time trial training camp including nearly all riders pre-selected for the Tour. A big part of those riders will together take the start at the Dauphiné. After the Dauphiné we will go and see one or two stages of the Tour and we should be ready for the race in July."

Vacansoleil-DCM for Tour of California: Kris Boeckmans, Thomas De Gendt, Juan Antonio Flecha, Tomasz Marczynski, Lieuwe Westra, Bert-Jan Lindeman, Boy van Poppel and Wesley Kreder.


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