LottoNL-Jumbo have named a youthful team for the Vuelta a España containing three grand tour debutants, with Maarten Tjallingii and Maarten Wynants providing an experienced balance in the nine-rider roster. The team was forced into a late change to the squad for the Spanish grand tour after Laurens ten Dam was hit by a car, suffering a broken dorsal vertebra in the accident, which has ruled him out of racing for six weeks.
"We travel to Spain without overall ambitions because of the absence of Laurens ten Dam, which does not alter the fact that there remain plenty of challenges," sport director Merijn Zeeman explained of the new approach the team are taking. "Within our qualities, we'll be looking for opportunities. On the days that the GC men make their mark, it's going to be difficult, but with Tom Van Asbroeck, for example, we have someone for whom the team can work during the sprint stages. We'll also attack in our pursuit of success. All nine riders get the chance to make opportunities for themselves."
Tom Van Asbroeck, Timo Roosen and Mike Teunissen are the debutants for the team, with all three looking to make their mark on the race. Van Asbroeck has had several top-10 finishes in his first season with the WorldTour team and is aiming to continue his Tour de Pologne form at the Vuelta, as he explained.
"I hope to force something on those days with the help of the team. I had a good run-up to the Vuelta. It felt good to get involved again in Poland," Van Asbroeck said, adding his third place on stage 3 was "a boost to my confidence."
Teunissen also enters the race off the back of recent good results, including his first professional victory in the Tour de l'Ain prologue.
"First I won the prologue of the Tour de l'Ain, and now I can announce that I'm going to ride the Vuelta," Teunissen said. "It's my first three-week race, but I think I can handle it. I look forward to helping Tom in the sprints and to fight for my opportunities. Unfortunately, we miss a man for the overall because of Laurens' incident, but it gives me the opportunity to focus on my personal development."
Having been pulled from the team on the eve of the Giro d'Italia due to low cortisol levels, George Bennett will make his grand tour debut with the team and third in his career. The Kiwi rode the 2014 Vuelta, finishing in 89th place overall and explained that 12-months on, his emphasis will be looking for success via breakaways.
"It sucks that we have to do it without Laurens, because he's important in our team, but his absence also opens a few doors for others. I won't focus on the GC, but the Vuelta always offers opportunities for riders like me. And who knows where it will end if I ride into a nice escape? I'll take things day by day, and hope to avoid unnecessary time losses."
Rounding out the team is Martijn Keizer, Bert Jan Lindeman and Dennis van Winden who rejoined LottoNL-Jumbo midway through the season.
LottoNL-Jumbo for Vuelta a España: Tom van Asbroeck, George Bennett, Martijn Keizer, Bert Jan Lindeman, Timo Roosen, Mike Teunissen, Maarten Tjallingii, Dennis van Winden and Maarten Wynants.
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