"I think we’ve made a logical choice. Eight of the nine riders were part of the team last year as well and Jürgen Roelandts is back after one season without riding the Tour. At the Giro he noticed how valuable it is to contribute to the team’s success and with his qualities he’s cut out for that work," team manager Marc Sergeant said of the selection.
Greipel was the top sprinter of the 2015 Tour de France, winning four stages and enjoying a stint in the green jersey. The German, who three stages at the Giro d'Italia in May, has 10 career Tour stage wins on his palmares and with Lotto Soudal bringing its top lead out train will look to add to his haul.
"Our goals are clear. We aim for a stage win with André Greipel," added Sergeant. "There is a lot of competition between the sprinters, but the past twelve months André has proven to still be able to perform on the important moments. During the Tour he can rely on his sprint train. There are a few stages where Tony Gallopin can have a go, but of course riders like Adam Hansen and Thomas De Gendt can take their chance as well. They have a free role."
Lars Bak, who broke several bones and punctured a lung during the Giro, has been selected for his fifth career Tour having finished the mid-week Halle-Ingooigem race.
"Lars Bak is part of the selection after a successful test at Halle-Ingooigem yesterday and the medical staff off our team, who also consulted doctor Toon Claes, gave him the green light," said Sergeant "After his crash on the last Giro stage there was only a slim chance he would be able to ride the Tour, but right from day one he did all he could to grab that chance. In a team like ours a rider like Lars is very important to work during the flat stages."
Sergeant added that Bart De Clercq can feel disappointed to have missed Tour selection but will now have several races in which he can focus on pursuing his personal ambitions.
"Bart De Clercq isn’t selected for the Tour. I understand he will be disappointed, but I think that just like last year, he can aim for a good overall result at the Tour de Pologne and a good Vuelta later this season. That way Bart can pursue a good personal result instead of working for the team at the Tour," he said.
The 2016 Tour de France starts on July 2 with a 188km stage from Mont-Saint-Michel to Utah Beach suited to the sprinters where Greipel will aim to add a yellow jersey to his wardrobe.
Lotto-Soudal for the 2016 Tour de France: Lars Bak, Thomas De Gendt, Jens Debusschere, Tony Gallopin, André Greipel, Adam Hansen, Greg Henderson, Jürgen Roelandts and Marcel Sieberg.
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