Rabobank under pressure

Dutch team Rabobank is going to the Tour de France with a strong squad on paper: Dutchmen Michael Boogerd, Erik Dekker, Thomas Dekker, Joost Posthuma and Pieter Weening; Juan Antonio Flecha and Oscar Freire (Spain), Denis Menchov (Russia) and Michael Rasmussen (Denmark). It should thus do well, especially as the 'Rabo renners' include several experienced Tour de France stage winners and Rasmussen won the Polkadot jersey last year, but team manager Theo de Rooij said his riders are under a lot of pressure to perform.

"If we don't deliver in the Tour, there will be a storm," De Rooij told the Telegraaf. Rabobank has not won a stage in the Giro d'Italia, and except for the wins in the Dauphiné Libéré and the Tour de Suisse, has not yet shown all of its potential this first part of the season. But the team manager doesn't agree with the press all the way. "It wasn't that bad," he continued. "There is surely no talk of panic. If you look at the past, there is not that much difference with the last few years. We have never won a stage in the Giro d'Italia or in Romandie. The victory of Denis Menchov at the Mont Ventoux in the Dauphiné was a first for Rabobank in that race. If you look at the classics, we were there, too. Only three teams took the victories."

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