The LottoNL-Jumbo team held its official team presentation in the Netherlands on Friday, confirming that Sep Vanmarcke will fly the team's bright yellow colours in the cobbled Classics, while Robert Gesink, Wilco Kelderman and Laurens ten Dam will all have protected status for the Tour de France that starts in the Utrecht, in the Netherlands.
Team manager Richard Plugge opted to join forces with the TeamLottoNL speed skating team after Belkin decided to end its sponsorship after just 18 months. Fortunately the Jumbo brand of supermarkets also came on board to help complete a reduced but still significant budget to ensure the team stayed in the WorldTour for 2015. With Belkin suddenly out of cycling, the team dropped the green and white colours of 2014 for the black and yellow of LottoNL-Jumbo.
“The speed skating team, as well as the cycling team, are two of the Netherlands’ most innovative sports organizations. The combined efforts and cross-pollination are great advantages of this collaboration. The collaboration is also interesting at a commercial level. Our team will be visible 365 days of the year, this is something which is extremely attractive for sponsors,” Plugge said during the team presentation.
Bauke Mollema has moved to the Trek Factory Racing team and Theo Bos has moved to the MTN-Qhubeka team but the 25-rider LottoNL-Jumbo line-up remains strong.
“Sep Vanmarcke will be our team leader during the spring Classics. Last year, he showed us what he is capable of, and we want to emulate that,”directeur sportif Nico Verhoeven explained.
“During the Walloon Classics, our aim is to perform well with Robert Gesink and Wilco Kelderman. We want to compete for a podium place. As a Dutch team, we are looking forward to the Grand Départ in Utrecht. With Robert Gesink, Wilco Kelderman and Laurens ten Dam, we have three men who can ride a good GC. Steven Kruijswijk will aim for a good GC in the Giro d’Italia. He has already obtained a top ten classification in Italy. Moreno Hofland will focus on the sprint stages in the Giro d’Italia. Next to this, with Barry Markus and Tom Van Asbroeck at our disposal, we have a strong sprinting force.”
Ten Dam to target the Tour of California
Laurens ten Dam turned 34 during the winter but is admired for his consistency at the Tour de France and the way he enjoys his career. The Dutchman is known for posting all his rides on Strava. He indicated that the Tour of California remains a major goal for him in 2015, along with the Tour de France. Last year he finished ninth overall in the Tour de France.
“I think the Tour of California and the Volta a Catalunya are amazing races. When we ride there, I obviously want to do my utmost to perform at the highest level. However, I am a year older now and I’m becoming a bit ‘rustier.’ Starting a new season takes a bit more effort,” ten Dam admitted.
“The Tour de France is the main goal. These past years, I have improved each year, and that is my goal this year. Nevertheless, I’m realistic and I know that, at 34, improving might not be possible.”