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Tour: Bigger ambitions for Wanty-Groupe Gobert

Tour: Bigger ambitions for Wanty-Groupe Gobert

Tour de France (2.WT, 07-29/07) will start on Saturday from île de Noirmoutiers. Wanty-Groupe Gobert will be present for the second consecutive time in La Grande Boucle. The team held their press conference on Thursday in Vendéspace. General manager Jean-François Bourlart  and the eight present riders Thomas Degand, Timothy Dupont, Guillaume Martin, Marco Minnaard, Yoann Offredo, Andrea Pasqualon, Dion Smith and Guillaume Van Keirsbulck talked about their ambitions for the three upcoming weeks.

Jean-François Bourlart (algemeen manager) :

« We participate in Le Tour for the second time, an invitation of which we are very honored and proud. Last year we set a goal to go into the breakaways and show our jersey. That will not change in 2018. We want to preserve our offensive attitude. By riding offensively we can also go for a stage victory, if the breakaway holds until the finish. We do not change our tactics, but our ambitions exceed those of last year. We have an extra year of experience and our riders have grown in all areas. »

« Guillaume Martin rode a strong Critérium du Dauphiné. He performed a nice preparation towards Le Tour. Our first goal is to lead Guillaume to the high mountains in the best possible position. The first week is treacherous because of the wind and cobblestones. In the mountain stages he wants to do better than his third place last year at Station des Rousses. That does not mean that we will wait for the mountains: we want to show ourselves in breakaways and make the race hard in the first week. »

Hilaire Van der Schueren :

« Our mission becomes more difficult as each team only has eight riders. There is no prologue or opening time trial that will cause a time difference before the first two stages. The winner of the first stage will wear the yellow jersey. That will bring stress. The first week will be important to us. We want to keep Martin in a good position. We have explored the cobblestone stage, the Alps and the Pyrenees. We have done the maximum to give the team confidence. »

Yoann Offredo :

« With the exception of Timothy Dupont we start with riders who already contested the Tour last year. That creates a nice cohesion. But on the other hand, if I had known how tough the Tour was, I would have attacked less (laughs). But I will not ride on reserve. I expect a nervous opening weekend. Nevertheless, I also expect a lot of breakaway attempts, although they are doomed to fail. We will have to pay attention to crashes. Riding at the head of the race will be an advantage. I already have a plan in my head! »

Guillaume Martin :

« I rode my first Tour de France pretty young, at the age of 24. I feel that my body has changed now. That helps me to build my future. Thanks to the Tour, I grew even more. In the third week I missed freshness last year. This year I will also be tired, but I hope my body will recover better. We also have more experience in the team now. I know my strengths and weaknesses well and start with more ambition. »

« I rode a good Critérium du Dauphiné, with a 12th place in the final classification and a strong performance between the best in the mountains. I am confident, even though I know that some top favorites were not there. The first week will be dangerous. We can make up a first balance in Roubaix. At that moment I want to be in a good position. Then I will focus on a nice final classification and why not the white jersey? But if I lose time, I can focus on other goals. »