Dutch WorldTour team LottoNL-Jumbo launched its 2017 season in Amsterdam, outlining its primary season objectives of overall Giro d'Italia success with Steven Kruijswijk and revealing its new Shimano made yellow and black kit.
"Today's cycling needs a more specific focus on tasks," general manager Richard Plugge said. "Preparation, both physical and mental, and materials are important. They are just as important as a performance on the road. This needs a 100 per cent focus. We are already working this way, but with a clearer delineation for 2017."
Having worn the Giro's pink jersey for five days in 2016 before a crash on the Colle Dell'Agnello derailed his hopes of overall victory and saw him drop to fourth, Kruijswijk will return for the 100th edition of the corsa rosa aiming for the victory. He will also target the general classification at the Vuelta a Espana which he crashed out of this year.
"Every moment from now on is centred on that great goal, the Giro. We will do everything to be at the start in top form," said the Dutchman. "With my opinion, the team brought in a number of riders who can assist me in the Giro. Stef Clement and Jurgen Van den Broeck will be important riders for me. Therefore they ride almost the same programme and they go with me altitude training. Also, the rest of the Giro team will often race with me and train with me.
Gesink, who will start his season at the Tour Down Under in Australia and is also scheduled to race the Abu Dhabi Tour and Tour of California, is building his season around the Tour de France after missing the race in 2016 due to a head injury.
"I really want to win a Tour de France stage and with the whole team, we want to go for it. The last few years were really an eye-opener for me. The Tour in 2015 and the Vuelta in 2016 gave me the feeling that there is still much to do. I'm looking forward to going for stage wins in the upcoming Tour. I'm going back to my roots of offensive racing and going for it," said Gesink who was sixth overall in 2015.
With no general classification ambitions for the Tour, Groenewegen will also be chasing stage wins at La Grande Boucle but first wants to make a mark in the classics.
"The major goals in 2017 are the Dutch Championship and the Tour again. I would love to keep my red-white-blue top another year and show it in the Tour de France against the world’s top sprinters. In the Eneco Tour, I showed that I can beat them," said Groenewegen. "I cannot wait to be able to sprint again for the victory. We prefer to do that as soon as possible in the Tour of Qatar and in classics like Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and Gent-Wevelgem. Once the train rolls and sprints won, we take a huge boost for the rest of the season."
The returning Lars Boom leads the team at the classics and will also be aiming to improve against the clock and will target time trials in 2017.
"I start my season at the Tour of the Algarve and my spring campaign really begins with the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Paris-Nice. With this team around me, the main goals of this year are Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders," he explained. "The Bianchi Aquila has developed enormously in recent years and is arguably the best time trial bike in the peloton. The team is committed to this discipline and so I win in the time trials. I'm training more than ever on the time trial bike and we managed to perfect my position on the bike."
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