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Vanmarcke primed for Tour de France debut

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Sep Vanmarcke (Blanco) had to settle for second in Paris-Roubaix

Sep Vanmarcke (Blanco) had to settle for second in Paris-Roubaix (Image credit: Sirotti)
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The Belkin team will be hoping for a strong showing in the Tour de France

The Belkin team will be hoping for a strong showing in the Tour de France (Image credit: Sirotti)
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The Belkin riders arrive for the team press conference

The Belkin riders arrive for the team press conference (Image credit: Sirotti)

It's been one of the efforts of his life but Belkin's Sep Vanmarcke believes he's never trained as hard as he has to make the team for the Tour de France.

Vanmarcke, this year's runner-up at Paris-Roubaix, is making his debut at the Tour de France with the 2011 Vuelta a Espana his only grand tour previously.

"For me it would be a good Tour if there was a rest day after every stage," the 24-year-old joked at the Belkin press conference. "I've never raced in Corsica. Apparently there are quite a few curves in the road. It's not really good for a sprinters after that first stage. But I'm already ready for the Tour. I never trained as hard as I have for this race."

Vanmarcke was informed of his inclusion in the Dutch squad last Monday after a fast and furious Tour de Suisse.

"In Switzerland I did a lot of work to support the team," he explained. "It made me believe in my chances of making the team for the Tour."

The Belgian has modest goals for his debut Tour.

"The goal will be to assist our leader Bauke Mollema as long as possible in the mountain stages," Vanmarcke explained. "Then I can settle down quietly in the autobus. Of course, I would like to be part of an early breakaway, preferably one that is going to last, so I can sprint for the stage."