LottoNL-Jumbo head to the Eneco Tour, the final WorldTour stage of the season, with Primoz Roglic and Wilco Kelderman targeting the general classification, and Dutch national champion Dylan Groenewegen aiming to continue his successful season in the sprints. The seven day race starts September 19 with 184.7km stage from Bolsward to Bolsward with the following day's time trial the first target of the race for Roglic and Kelderman.
Kelderman has ridden the Eneco on two previous occasions, finishing seventh in 2013 and third last year having also worn the leader jersey. He is aiming for another top-result in what will be one of his final races for LottoNL-Jumbo before moving to Giant-Alpecin at the end of the season.
"It's always nice to race in your own country, I am therefore more motivated," Kelderman said. "My goal is to ride a good classification again. We can score well in the team time trial and the individual time trial. In these stages, the GC will be made."
Along with Kelderman, the team has Roglic for the general classification and director sportif Merijn Zeeman believes the race is important for the Slovenian's development as a GC rider.
"For the general classification, we don't have a top favourite, but three riders who have a chance to compete for the prizes. Kelderman has already shown that he can be good in the Eneco Tour. With the finish in Geraardsbergen, we have Sep Vanmarcke. And we are supporting Primoz Roglic in the standings. Considering his future, this is a good race to try to go for the GC," Zeeman said. "It's a special, this WorldTour race partly covers Dutch roads, and as a Dutch team, we are eager to show ourselves."
Roglic last raced on Dutch roads in May when he took second in the opening time trial stage of the Giro d'Italia on his grand tour debut. He then won the stage 9 Chianti time trial and has continued to impress against the clock since as he won the Slovenian national title, finished third in the Tour de Pologne time trial, was tenth at the Olympic Games, and was fourth at last month's Tour du Poitou Charentes time trial to finish fourth overall.
"I would like to aim for the top in the GC. The time trial on the second day is a goal for me. This year, I found out that I can race a good time trial, so I hope to be able to do so also in the Eneco Tour. I also want to make a good contribution in the team time trial," Roglic said of his race aims.
"As was often the case this season, it is a new experience for me. The stress due many traffic obstacles and narrow roads is what I'm not looking forward to!," he added. "It is a home race for the team, and I think that with this strong selection, we can surely show some good things. I'm ready to help the team to race the best possible Eneco Tour."
While the team is aiming for a good overall result, it will also help Groenewegen continue his successful first season with the team in which he has enjoyed nine victories including a stage at the Tour of Britain last month.
"In Britain, we again stepped up in the formation of the sprint train around Dylan Groenewegen. In the Eneco Tour, we want to continue down that path," said Zeeman. "Dylan wants the wins, and we want to go for them with him. It is important that we place Groenewegen for the sprints because in recent months, he has become faster. We have to ensure that he can use that speed."
With the likes of lining up, Zeeman is under no illusions regarding the level of competition for stage wins but believes LottoNL-Jumbo can hold its own at the pointy end.
It is not a given that the team will take home a stage win, however. "The competition is stronger and there are many more teams that want to participate in the sprint," said Zeeman. "It is also a good test for us to see how our sprint train operates in the Eneco Tour."
While Groenewegen has enjoyed a successful season so far in 2016, the 23-year-old is aiming for a debut WorldTour win ahead of the sprint friendly Worlds in Doha next month.
"We became a better sprint train in the last race, if we can evolve further then our goal of a stage win should be reached," Groenewegen said. "Once the team puts me in the right position and I have a clear line, I can win a stage. With a strong sprint train supporting me, I'm motivated for this important race."
LottoNL-Jumbo for the 2016 Eneco Tour: Jos van Emden, Dylan Groenewegen, Wilco Kelderman, Tom Leezer, Primoz Roglic, Sep Vanmarcke, Robert Wagner and Maarten Wijnants.
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