9 debutants for Wanty Groupe Gobert

Tour de France with 9 debutants

Wanty-Groupe Gobert heads to their first Tour de France with 9 first time starters. The selection of 7 riders was complemented by two other riders: the Italian Andrea Pasqualon and New Zealandian Dion Smith also head to Düsseldorf for le Grand Départ. Wanty-Groupe Gobert thus selects five different nationalities and 9 nine riders who discover for the first time the routes of Tour de France.

The complete selection:

– 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

Jean-François Bourlart:

“We had to choose between our three fastest riders (Dion, Kenny and Andrea). 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.”

Hilaire Van der Schueren: 

“It wasn’t an easy choice. 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.”