Rabobank has announced five of the nine riders that will represent the team at the Tour de France this summer, with Giro d'Italia winner Denis Menchov leading the team and Lars Boom making his Tour debut. The Dutch ProTour team has also announced its squad for this Sunday's Amstel Gold Race, with sprinter Oscar Freire and climber Robert Gesink to lead the team.
Menchov and Boom will be joined by Gesink, Laurens ten Dam and Juan Manuel Garate at the Tour, which starts in Rotterdam on July 3, according to the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.
The team will start its specific preparations for the Tour next month. Gesink and Ten Dam will reconnoitre the Pyrenean stages in early May, with all five riders doing altitude training in the Sierra Nevada later in the month. Boom and Ten Dam are expected to ride the Tour of Switzerland in June.
Boom, 24, made his Grand Tour debut last year in the Vuelta a España, where he won the 15th stage. He is expected to target the opening 9km time trial in Rotterdam, hoping to repeat his victory in the 8km time trial in this year's Paris-Nice.
The remaining four places on the team will be announced shortly before the Tour.
Climbers and sprinters for Amstel Gold Race
Robert Gesink and Oscar Freire will lead Rabobank in Sunday's Amstel Gold Race, the only Dutch Spring classic. The team will feature five riders fresh from the Tour of the Basque Country and three from the Flemish Classics: Lars Boom, Laurens ten Dam, Oscar Freire, Robert Gesink, Sebastian Langeveld, Paul Martens, Nick Nuyens and Bram Tankink.
Gesink finished third in last year's Amstel, after forcing the winning break, and is this year “obviously hoping for more,” the team said. The 23-year-old had been as high as third overall in The Tour of the Basque Country, before crashing on the penultimate stage. Despite four stitches in his elbow and additional injuries to his hip and hand, he rode the next day's time trial. The injuries are now fully healed, according to the team.
The team will be guided by two former winners of the race, directeurs sportif Erik Dekker, who was the last Dutch winner in 2001, and Frans Maassen, who won in 1991.
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