Wanty-Groupe Gobert will head to their first Tour de France this week with nine first time starters.
The Italian Andrea Pasqualon and Dion Smith from New Zealand finalise the team line-up who will travel to Düsseldorf for le Grand Départ.
“It wasn’t an easy choice,” said team manager Hilaire Van der Schueren. “Many candidates were qualified. Unfortunately Xandro Meurisse still suffers too much from pain in the ribs after his crash in Ster ZLM Toer. Jérome Baugnies also is in good shape, but we give him some rest to save himself for the one day races in July and August. These races always suit him.”
“We had to choose between our three fastest riders (Dion, Kenny and Andrea),” said General Manager Jean-François Bourlart. “We choose for Andrea and Dion because of their ability to survive the climbs better. There are a lot of stages suited for puncheurs and climbers this Tour. That was decisive. Kévin Van Melsen is our second reserve. He is again on a high level and is able to join the long breakaways.”
Wanty-Groupe Gobert Tour de France team:
Frederik Backaert, Belgium, 27 years
Thomas Degand, Belgium , 31 years
Guillaume Martin, France, 24 years
Marco Minnaard, the Netherlands, 28 years
Yoann Offredo, France, 30 years
Andrea Pasqualon, Italy, 29 years
Dion Smith, New Zealand, 24 years
Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, Belgium, 26 years
Pieter Vanspeybrouck, Belgium, 30 years