LottoNL-Jumbo starts eagerly in Ruta del Sol
Team LottoNL-Jumbo will travel to Spain for the 61st Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol with confidence high. The 2015 season will start for most riders, but Sports Director Merijn Zeeman still hopes for success like last year, when Moreno Hofland won a stage.
“All of our riders, except for Maarten Tjallingii who was in the Tour Down Under, will ride their first race kilometres in the Ruta,” said Zeeman. “We’ve worked hard this winter. We had few setbacks during our training camps, but made good progress. We are all eager to make it a good race.”
Hofland, 23, began his season in 2014 with a victory in the final stage of the Ruta del Sol. “It was my first victory in Europe, a very important one,” said the Dutchman. After his Ruta del Sol win, he continued his development with a stage win in the highly regarded WorldTour stage race, Paris-Nice. “I have had a good winter so far,” Hofland said. “I cannot wait to start racing again. After my stage win in last year’s Ruta del Sol, expectations will be high. I hope to get in the mix straight away in order to work my way to top form for Paris-Nice and the classics.”
“We aim for a sprint win with Moreno again. We want to take him to the top,” said Zeeman. “As a team, we’ll work hard to support him as much as we can. He’s already shown what he can do in Paris-Nice. Now we want to help him make the next step.”
Wilco Kelderman prepared himself for Paris-Nice at altitude in Tenerife together with Tom Leezer. The 23-year-old Dutchman aims for a good time trial and overall in the Ruta del Sol. “The third and fourth days, with tough uphill finishes, are going to be important for him,” said Zeeman.
Steven Kruijswijk, 27, will have a free role, said Zeeman. “The Giro d’Italia is his big goal this year, but he already feels strong and is full of confidence for the Ruta. He’ll have space to ride for the GC and to test himself on the climbs.”
Zeeman knows that his team will face a big challenge from February 18 to 22. “There will be a lot of top riders and there are going to be fireworks. We want our riders to move to the top, so the Ruta del Sol is a good opportunity to see where we stand.”
Laurens ten Dam, Jos van Emden, Moreno Hofland, Wilco Kelderman, Steven Kruijswijk, Tom Leezer en Maarten Tjallingii.