Better suited to the high mountain passes of Europe, Jurgen Van den Broeck knows that he'll need a strong opening stage time trial if he is to be any hope of winning the inaugural Tour of Beijing next month.
Van den Broeck will lead the Omega Pharma - Lotto team at the Wednesday 5th to Sunday 9th October race - the first UCI WorldTour event to be held in Asia.
After entering the Tour de France with high hopes of an overall victory this year, Van den Broeck was forced to abandon on stage nine after suffering a sickening crash, which left him with a fractured shoulder and broken ribs. The 28-year-old Belgian recovered in time for the Vuelta a España, finishing eighth overall.
Van den Broeck will be looking to carry that late-season form into Beijing. With the Tour of Beijing not featuring the steep mountains he excels at, Van den Broeck knows he will have to rediscover the form that won him the 2001 junior time trial world championship if he is to win overall in China.
"I hope my form will be good for this race. After my crash during the Tour de France, I worked hard for the Vuelta. It was good for me to do the Vuelta after my crash. Normally I'm in good form for my last races of the season," Van den Broeck said.
"It's the first time I will race in China. It's good for cycling that we can race in China – Asia is a big continent and will open many possibilities for the future of the sport."
Sport Director Michiel Elijzen will be chasing an overall win with Van den Broeck, but says Omega Pharma - Lotto will enter a balanced team with multiple options for stage wins.
"I hope we will do well in the general classification with Jurgen Van den Broeck," Elijzen said.
"And I hope we will have the chance of winning a stage with one of our riders. I think we have an all-round team that is capable of competing in every stage for the win."
Supporting Van den Broeck will be 2011 Giro d'Italia stage winner Bert De Clercq, 2010 junior Paris-Roubaix runner-up Jens Debusschere, 2005 Paris-Nice stage winner Vicente Reynés, sprinter Kenny Dehaes and UCI WorldTour season debutant Maarten Neyens.
Team tactics could change after the opening stage time trial depending on results, with two time trial specialists, 2008 Australian time trial champion Adam Hansen and 2003 Belgian under-23 time trial champion Olivier Kaisen, also included in the squad.
Kaisen, who recently represented Belgium at the UCI Road World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark, is another rider who will be looking to continue his promising end-of-season form.
"I finished the Tour of Spain in good form, then I did two races to prepare for the world championship. I hope my good form will stay until the Tour of Beijing to do a good race there," Kaisen said.
The Omega Pharma - Lotto team for the Tour of Beijing: Bart De Clercq, Jens Debusschere, Kenny Dehaes, Adam Hansen, Olivier Kaisen, Maarten Neyens, Vicente Reynés, Jurgen Van Den Broeck.
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