Tour de France - Mollema to lead sprinter-less Blanco

Bauke Mollema will lead Blanco at the Tour de France.

Tour de France - Mollema to lead sprinter-less Blanco

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Bauke Mollema - Blanco

The 26-year-old Dutchman comes into the race in strong form after second place overall at the Tour of Switzerland.

Mollema, who was fourth at the Vuelta, is preferred as team leader to Robert Gesink.

Gesink was earmarked as a star of the future after finishing sixth in the 2010 Tour but retired at the Giro d'Italia.  “We have geared our team around Bauke”, stated directeur sportif Nico Verhoeven in the official team announcement.

“We are looking to score a good classification with him. We are aiming for the top ten but in fact we’re simply trying for the maximum achievable. We could say that we’d like Bauke to finish fourth, but if he then finishes fourth when second was within grasp, I’d say we’d be less satisfied. But if it turns out that he is seventh and that is the best result we could have expected, then we’d be happy with that.

“In the Tour of Switzerland, Bauke showed that he was ready in the way he rode and led the team. On top of a good GC, we would like to take a stage win."

Sprinters Theo Bos or Mark Renshaw have not been selected so Blanco will focus on GC with Lars Boom their best chance of stage wins.

Laurens ten Dam, Gesink, Tom Leezer, Lars Petter Nordhaug, Bram Tankink, Sep Vanmarcke and Maarten Wynants complete the team.

Verhoeven explained Gesink's role.

“Robert will have a relatively open role but will be expected to take care of Bauke in the high mountain stages together with Laurens," he said.

"Nordhaug and Boom are dangerous stage pirates but also understand what it means to be a domestique. Bram [Tankink] is our road captain and Maarten [Whynants] is an all-rounder who has proven his worth in the big tours. Sep and Tom [Leezer] formed a good team with Bauke in the Tour de Suisse and kept him out of trouble in the run-up to the mountains.”

The 100th Tour de France begins in Corisca on June 29.

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