|American rider Levi Leipheimer will be taking over Michael Boogerds role as teamcaptain in the upcoming French three weeks of racing. This results in less pressure and less stress for the rider from The Hague.
In 1996 Boogerd raced his first Tour without any expectations and won a stage. In the years to follow he finished 5th (1998), but also had some dramatical ones 56th (1999) or a DNF in 2000. "Its never as much fun as the first time " , Boogerd tells. "Its like a fieldtrip on highschool. This year will be the first time I will not start as the teamcaptain in the Tour de France. it feels like such a relief. But hey, I still hope to ride well...!!!"
Along side with experience like Erik Dekker, Michael Booged and Levi Leipheimer teammanager Jan Raas choose to take three young guns to try their best in the world most important three weeks of racing : Karsten Kroon, Addy Engels and Bram de Groot.
Engels earned his selection in the Giro d'Italia. Kroon was chosen above Marc Lotz, to try like director De Rooij tells "play their part in the flat stages too."
The Rabobank selection to start in Luxemburg is completed with 'foreigners' Marc Wauters (Belgium), Grischa Niermann (Germany) and Beat Zberg (Switzerland). "A choice made with one eye on the teamtimetrail.", according to teamdirector Theo de Rooij.
Former World Cup winner Erik Dekker will ride the Tour too, mainly as training: "I can use those k. very well to improove the strenght of my left leg... And I m there too, because Levi made clear he wants to do well in France. Call it what you want, but Dekker will pull the teamstrings.."
Bram de Groot