Vacansoleil-DCM will be looking for stage victories at the 2013 Tour of Beijing, naming an attacking line-up, headlined by Thomas De Gendt and the retiring Juan Antonio Flecha.
Spaniard Flecha is a breakaway specialist admired for his aggressive riding and ability to hold off a chasing peloton. He won a stage of the 2003 Tour de France in this very manner and also has a tendency to thrive under the tough conditions, finishing top-10 of the Paris-Roubaix on eight occasions. Earlier this week, he announced that the Tour of Beijing will be the final race of his 13-year professional career.
De Gendt, third overall in the Giro dItalia in 2012, has struggled to find the form of last season, where he also claimed a stage in Paris-Nice, but will be keen to put his stamp on what will be the last race for the Vacansoleil-DCM team before dissolving.
In sprinter Kenny van Hummel, Vacansoleil-DCM has a fast finisher who should be challenging for stage victories on the flatter stages.
Pim Ligthart, who finished runner-up in the mountains classification at the Tour of Beijing last year returns, Belgian rider Willem Wauters and Dutch domestiques Barry Markus, Maurits Lammertink and Wouter Mol round out the squad. Twenty-two year-old Markus has impressed this season, with a number of podium finishes in Qatar, the Scheldeprijs, and most-recently at the Arctic Tour of Norway where he finished 10th overall.
Vacansoleil-DCM sport director Michel Cornelisse says the team will be targeting the victory on every stage.
This is the last big race for our team so it is important to leave the bunch the way began – as a team which races aggressively and tries to get results in each stage, Cornelisse said. With van Hummel, Ligthart and Markus we have three fast guys to do something in the bunch sprints. Flecha, Mol and De Gendt will aim for the more difficult stages.