Meersman enters the race off the back of a strong Tour de Wallonie where he was second place overall and enjoyed a stint in the leader's jersey but is yet to open his 2016 account. The 30-year-old can count on a strong lead out train with Yves Lampaert, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck and Martin Velits all supporting his bid for a win.
Etixx-QuickStep will also look to Gianluca Brambilla after his sixth place at Clasica San Sebastian for results across the five stages. Spaniard David de la Cruz will also look to impress on the hilly stages with support to come from Maxime Bouet and Pieter Serry.
The race is unlikely to be decided until the final day with the decisive 14.8km Lagunas de Neila climb sure to cause selections in the battle for the overall.
Etixx-QuickStep for 2016 Vuelta a Burgos: Maxime Bouet (Fra), Gianluca Brambilla (Ita), David De La Cruz Melgarejo (Esp), Yves Lampaert (Bel), Gianni Meersman (Bel), Pieter Serry (Bel), Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) and Martin Velits (Svk)
Click here for the full 2016 Vuelta a Burgos start list
Gianni Meersman (Etixx-QuickStep) enjoying his moment in the limelight at last month's Tour de Wallonie (Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Heinrich Haussler abandons Tour of Utah
IAM Cycling's Heinrich Haussler had a short lived Tour of Utah with the 2015 Australian national champion succumbing to illness early on stage 1 from Zion National Park to Cedar City. Haussler was suffering from illness on the eve of the race and was unable to cope with the racing following the neutral zone in Zion National Park
"He took the start today, but he stopped at the feeding zone. He has gastro-enteritis symptoms, and he spent the all day sleeping and without eating yesterday. Today he just was not able to push and to give the best of himself," his IAM Cycling team said.
Haussler was to be the designated sprinter for the race but in his place, compatriot David Tanner stepped up to finish in seventh place.
Dimension Data announce three stagieres
WorldTour team Dimension Data have announced three stagieres will join the squad for the remainder of the 2016 season. South African Ryan Gibbons and Eritrean duo Metkel Eyob and Amanuel Gebreigzabhier move up from the Continental team although Dimension Data are yet to announce when the trio will make their debuts.
"Our major focus is to develop cycling across the African continent. Through our UCI Continental Team we are giving more riders the chance to succeed in international racing," team principal Douglas Ryder said. "To be able to bring these three incredibly talented African riders in to experience the setup and racing of our World Tour team is a fantastic achievement for the riders and testament to their hard work. If you add the support and commitment to providing bicycles to communities through the Qhubeka charity and how the team is leveraging its global exposure to support mobilising people on bicycles in South Africa, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka is providing a bright future for many."
Tour of Utah stage 1 highlights - Video
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