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Ten Dam spearheads Blanco line-up for Critérium du Dauphiné

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Laurens Ten Dam (Blanco) and Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) tried their luck with a little over 50km to go

Laurens Ten Dam (Blanco) and Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) tried their luck with a little over 50km to go (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Stef Clement (Blanco)

Stef Clement (Blanco) (Image credit: Alain Quenderf)
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Manuel Garate (Team Blanco)

Manuel Garate (Team Blanco) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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David Tanner (Blanco) is gunning to be part of the Ardennes squad this year

David Tanner (Blanco) is gunning to be part of the Ardennes squad this year (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tom Jelte Slagter (Blanco) showed the promise of the next generation of Dutch talent

Tom Jelte Slagter (Blanco) showed the promise of the next generation of Dutch talent (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Laurens ten Dam will lead Blanco to the Critérium du Dauphiné when the WorldTour event begins this Sunday in Champery.

The eight-stage race looms as a key test, not just for the 32-year-old but also for the rest of the squad with spots in the Tour de France line-up up for grabs.

The Dauphiné represents a shift for ten Dam who in previous seasons has raced the Tour de Suisse in the lead up to the Tour.

"During the winter, we made a plan with him wherein the Dauphiné formed a primarily goal," explained sports director Merijn Zeeman. "Laurens will enjoy a protected status and have a free hand. As a team, we'll support him in the best possible way."

Stef Clement meanwhile will be coming off a Giro d'Italia where he finished in the top-10 in each of the two individual time trials with the discipline again his priority on Stage 4 of the Dauphiné, a 32.5km race against the clock. Juanma Garate is the other rider with the short break following the Giro.

"As for Tom-Jelte Slagter, we're aiming for a few of the trickier arrivals and by that I mean the arrivals falling just within the category of high mountain," continued Zeeman.

"Finally, we want the entire team to ride aggressively", he added. "Additionally, it is going to be a chance for some of our riders to improve their form ahead of the Tour."

The Blanco squad for the Critérium du Dauphiné: Laurens ten Dam, Tom-Jelte Slagter, Juanma Garate, Robert Wagner, David Tanner, Bram Tankink, Marc Goos and Stef Clement