“We hope to finish in the top ten of the general classification with Wilco and Steven,” said Sports Director Frans Maassen. “They have been on a three-week altitude training camp in Tenerife and were able to prepare themselves in the best possible way, both physically and mentally. They have lived like monks and that’s perfect as the coming weeks are going to be hectic enough.”
Maassen and the team are not only hoping for a good overall in the Giro. They will also aim for a stage win. “We’d really like to win a stage. We will do our utmost to get in the right breakaways. It’s going to be a challenge. Furthermore, Jetse Bol will aim to win bunch sprints.”
‘Strong and loyal’ helpers
The Giro starts with a team time trial in Northern Ireland and continues with two more stages before returning to Italy. The Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM will travel there on Tuesday. “We will try to preview as many stages as we can in the days leading up to the start,” said Maassen. “The Giro will be decided in the last week, but the first two weeks will be difficult, as well. For example, the wind can play a significant role. We’ll need to be alert.” The Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM will try to do so with a strong team. Maassen has confidence in his helpers. “We have seven strong and loyal domestiques. They know to race and know what’s expected of them.”
“We have trained long and hard during our altitude training camp in Tenerife,” Kelderman said. “It’s was perfect. I felt good during the last training rides, which gives me confidence in the run-up to the Giro. I’m hoping for a top ten finish in the overall. In Paris-Nice and the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, I was in good form and able to climb with the best, but unfortunately, due to bad luck, I didn’t make it into the top. The Giro is a completely different race and a lot longer, but we have a balanced group of riders, which provides me with lot of confidence. We also have a fun group. That will be important and certainly helps.”
“We have a great and strong team,” Kruijswijk explained. “I already have a lot of confidence for Friday’s team time trial, for example. I’ll have to give everything to keep up with the guys. “The Giro has a traditional build-up and towards the end, it will become harder and harder. During the first two weeks, it’s important that Wilco and I don’t lose time. With these guys, I’m really confident about that. Our entire focus is on the overall, but sometimes the boys will get opportunities and they should really try to seize those moments. When the team is riding aggressively, it gives everyone morale.”
Jetse Bol, Jos van Emden, Rick Flens, Marc Goos, Martijn Keizer, Wilco Kelderman, Steven Kruijswijk, David Tanner and Maarten Tjallingii.
Jan Boven and Frans Maassen.