Team LottoNL-Jumbo will start the Eneco Tour with a strong selection on Monday, September 19, in Bolsward. The seven-day stage race includes a time trial and a team time trial before ending on September 25 in Geraardsbergen.
"It's a special, this WorldTour race partly covers Dutch roads, and as a Dutch team, we are eager to show ourselves," Sports Director Merijn Zeeman. “We’re aiming for success on several fronts: the general classification, the time trial and the sprint with Dylan Groenewegen.
"For the general classification, we don’t have a top favourite, but three riders who have a chance to compete for the prizes. Kelderman has already shown that he can be good in the Eneco Tour. With the finish in Geraardsbergen, we have Sep Vanmarcke. And we are supporting Primoz Roglic in the standings. Considering his future, this is a good race to try to go for the GC."
"I would like to aim for the top in the GC,” Roglic said. “The time trial on the second day is a goal for me. This year, I found out that I can race a good time trial, so I hope to be able to do so also in the Eneco Tour. I also want to make a good contribution in the team time trial.”
It is Roglic’s first time in the Netherlands and Belgium to race. “As was often the case this season, it is a new experience for me. The stress due many traffic obstacles and narrow roads is what I’m not looking forward to!
"It is a home race for the team, and I think that with this strong selection, we can surely show some good things. I’m ready to help the team to race the best possible Eneco Tour."
Wilco Kelderman placed third overall last year, so is hoping for some more of the same success in 2017. He regrets the lack of an Ardennes stage, but is looking forward to the time trials.
"It's always nice to race in your own country, I am therefore more motivated,” Kelderman said. “My goal is to ride a good classification again. We can score well in the team time trial and the individual time trial. In these stages, the GC will be made."
Sprinting with Groenewegen
"In Britain, we again stepped up in the formation of the sprint train around Dylan Groenewegen. In the Eneco Tour, we want to continue down that path,” added Zeeman. "Dylan wants the wins, and we want to go for them with him. It is important that we place Groenewegen for the sprints because in recent months, he has become faster. We have to ensure that he can use that speed."
It is not a given that the team will take home a stage win, however. "The competition is stronger and there are many more teams that want to participate in the sprint,” said Zeeman. “It is also a good test for us to see how our sprint train operates in the Eneco Tour.”
"We became a better sprint train in the last race, if we can evolve further then our goal of a stage win should be reached,” Groenewegen said. "Once the team puts me in the right position and I have a clear line, I can win a stage. With a strong sprint train supporting me, I’m motivated for this important race."
Jos van Emden
Merijn Zeeman & Mathieu Heijboer