Bauke Mollema is one of the great hopes of Dutch cycling, and the Belkin rider, who finished sixth in last year's Tour de France, is hoping an improvement upon that results could lead to a new sponsor for his team.
Belkin announced last month that it would end its relationship with the Dutch team at the end of this season, and it's a situation Mollema has experienced before with Rabobank's exit. But he's not worried just yet.
"I think we did a really good job this year and last with Belkin as a sponsor," Mollema said. "As riders we should focus on the races and hope to do a really good Tour de France, that's important for possibly a new sponsor. We should also have confidence in the management to find a new sponsors."
The 27-year-old has made steady progress in Grand Tours over the past few years, and last year came in sixth place in the Tour de France. In 2011 he was fourth in the Vuelta a España and in his first Grand Tour in 2010, the Giro d'Italia, he was 12th. He hopes to improve even more in the Tour this year, and a third place overall in the Tour de Suisse showed he's capable of a good result.
"I think I'm the kind of rider who's pretty good in Grand Tours, and I like to do them. My body is good for Grand Tours, I recover quickly, and that's important.
"So far I've made steps every year," he said. "I hope to do a really good general classification like last year [at the Tour]. It's hard to say which position to aim for, I hope to give my all in the hard stages. The first week is really important with the cobble stage and the second stage in Britain. I will give everything every day and we'll see what's the result."
Fueling Mollema is a bit of his childhood, present on the breakfast table every day, and maybe an evening snack as well: it's the Dutch tradition known as hagelslag - buttered bread with chocolate sprinkles (nonpareils) on top.
"I really like it. I always put it on my bread in the morning and evening, too. I always did when I was young and I still really like the taste. It gives me energy. It's probably 50 per cent sugar."
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