Thursday, 23 June 2011

#TDF The Teams 4 - Omega Pharma-Lotto

The Belgian team Omega Pharma-Lotto could well be Team Jurgen for this Tour as three of their team go by that name, including the team leader.

031 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) 28 The team leader finished 5th in last year's Tour de France the best performance by a Belgian since Claude Criquielion in 1986. He is a time trial specialist (indeed Junior World Time Trial Champion in 2001) but in the 2009 Tour he kept apace with the climbers and came in 15th. He'd crashed on stage four and lost 6 minutes that day so last year proved it was no fluke when he raced through to 5th place. His warm up was a repeat 4th place in the Critérium du Dauphiné. He may well be in contention again this year, he is at what is termed the ideal age to win Tours. Contador and the Schlecks may have to watch out as he could make up a small deficit even after Alpe d'Huez in that final time trial.

032 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) 28 The Belgian rider has had a good 2001 so far. He also has a prestigious quadruple wins in a row. First he won the Brabantse Pijl, then he repeated his success of 2010 winning the Amstel Gold Race, breaking free on the Cauberg. Three days later, he won La Flèche Wallonne dropping his rivals on the final climb of the Mur de Huy and finally he won Liège–Bastogne–Liège beating the Schleck brothers in the sprint. He has also won the Paris-Tours classic in back to back seasons. He apparently didn't have the Tour on his schedule for this year until his very successful spring and he was called up into the 9 man team. This racer is a classics rider who should do well in the open week of the Tour.  5th Tour Start: Best 70th (2005)

033 André Greipel (Ger) 28 Has moved from HTC-Highroad to make his Tour debut. He had the second most wins in the 2009 season. The reason why he wasn't part of the HTC-Highroad train before now is that he is a sprinter just like Mark Cavendish. He will be hoping that Omega Pharma-Lotto can give him a lead out like he has had from his former team mates, or better, as he will be looking to prove that he is as good as Cav. Debut Tour

034 Sebastian Lang (Ger) 31 A time trial specialist who won the German nation title in that disciple in 2006. IN the 2008 Tour he actually held the King of the Mountains jersy from Stages 12-14 when after being part of a 13 man breakaway after the rest day he secured enough points to gain the jersey. It was the year that the eventual winner was banned for drugs offences, so although he finished 5th in the Polka Dot Jersey he was actually the 4th legal rider in that competition on the point awarded on race days. Whilst he is ok on small hills he won't be in contention in the high mountains. 7th TS: Best 65th (2005)

035 Jürgen Roelandts (Bel) 25 The young Belgian has won nation road race titles at U17 and U19 level before securring the seniour title in 2008.He was best young rider in the 2010 Tour Down Under. This will be his second Tour having come 120th last year. 2nd TS: Best 120th (2010)

036 Marcel Sieberg (Ger) 29 A domestique who has moved from HTC-Highroad this year. He came 2nd in Kuurne–Brussels–Kuurne in 2009. 2nd TS: best 120th (2007)

037 Jurgen van de Walle (Bel) 31 A journeyman cyclist in the Pro Tour, although he has won Halle–Ingooigem twice in 2009 and 2010. 3rd TS: Best 63rd (2010)

038 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) 26 Making his first Grand Tour appearance. A lead out man for the team. One career triumph of note Vlaamse Pijl (2007). Debut Tour

039 Frederik Willems (Bel) 31 Another journeyman cyclist. He picked up a win in Étoile de Bessèges (2006). But will be like most of this team helping Van Den Broeck as much as possible.

The two stars on the Omega Pharma-Lotto team are Jurgen Van Den Broeck who may have hopes of a podium in Paris and Philippe Gilbert who will looking at where he can use his Classics experience to pick up a stage win.

Update Philippe Gilbert won the Belgian national championships on the weekend before the weekend before the Tour for the first time in his career.

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