Dekker the younger in Tour de France roster

Rabobank has revealed some of its team line-up for the 2006 Tour de France. Speaking to the Telegraaf, team director Erik Breukink confirmed that Thomas Dekker is on the list for his Tour de France debut this year. "If all goes well, Thomas is in the selection," Breukink said. Other riders who have gained the slot for the toughest bike race on earth are Michael Rasmussen, Denis Menchov, Erik Dekker, Michael Boogerd, Oscar Freire and Juan Antonio Flecha - which makes seven out of nine.

"We have more than nine riders in mind for the Tour right now," continued Breukink, who knew from experience that some riders may not make it because of a last-minute injury or any other reason. "We also look at who's in form - that's why we keep two or three places open."

Last year's Tour de France stage winner Pieter Weening hasn't got a certain entry for France in July, but two months ahead of the race, he finds it too early to prove himself worthy. "For most riders, it's about the last few weeks before the start," Weening said. "It's about the shape of the moment. If you ride badly three weeks before the race, it's only logical that you're not going to be selected. I will put down my candidacy in the Dauphiné Libéré or the Tour de Suisse."

Every spot on the Tour de France roster needs to be earned, but the Rabobank management remains fair. "Weening may have had a disappointing spring, but there is no talk to deny him the Tour selection now," added Breukink. "Just as his stage victory last year doesn't guarantee him a seat this year."

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1