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If one of the two Dutch WorldTour formations - Rabobank - has been racing for the same sponsor since 1996, the other - Vacansoleil-DCM - is one of the youngest members of cycling’s top league. But that relative lack of experience doesn’t prevent Vacansoleil-DCM from having some very big goals for 2012.

“In last year’s Tour de France we were just happy to be in the break of the day, now we expect much more than that,” general manager Daan Luijkx said at the team launch in January.
“We have the riders to be able to do it. Our ambitions are clear: a top ten ranking and a stage win in one of the big tours and a podium finish in a monumental classic. I'm really looking forward to the World Championships in Valkenburg too.”

With 12 new riders in Vacansoleil-DCM out of its 29-strong line-up, there have been some significant changes, but as Luijkx pointed out one element remains the same.
“Discovering and developing young riders like Wout Poels, Thomas de Gendt and Pim Lighart has become one of the trademarks of our team.”

However, there is space in Vacansoleil-DCM, too, for far more experienced riders like double Tour of Flanders winner Stijn Devolder and leading French sprinter Romain Feillu. Feillu was the winner of eight races in 2011, including the Tour of Picardie, and one of the riders who ran Mark Cavendish the closest in the Tour de France last year. Nor can Johnny Hoogerland, whose appalling crash -and heroic bravery after it in continuing to race on - in the 2011 Tour de France was one of the biggest talking points of the race. This year, once again, Hoogerland will be concentrating on the Tour and the Ardennes Classics.

Other Vacansoleil-DCM riders who impressed in 2011 and are already doing so again in 2012 include talented all-rounder Marco Mercator, sprinter Kenny Van Hummel and the five times national champion of Uzbekistan, Sergey Lagutin.

With such a rich and varied line-up, Vacansoleil-DCM’s second season in the WorldTour should see them in contention in almost all race scenarios, except - perhaps - the podium in Grand Tours. But at the rate that Vacansoleil-DCM is progressing surely the day they target winning a major Tour is not too far off, either.
BOECKMANS Kris BEL 13.02.1987
CARRARA Matteo ITA 25.03.1979
DE GENDT Thomas BEL 06.11.1986
DEVOLDER Stijn BEL 29.08.1979
FEILLU Romain FRA 16.04.1984
HOOGERLAND Johnny NED 13.05.1983
KEIZER Martijn NED 25.03.1988
LAGUTIN Sergey UZB 14.01.1981
LARSSON Gustav SWE 20.09.1980
LEUKEMANS Björn BEL 01.07.1977
LIGTHART Pim NED 16.06.1988
LINDEMAN Bertjan NED 16.06.1989
MARCATO Marco ITA 11.02.1984
MARCZYNSKI Tomasz POL 06.03.1984
MOL Wouter NED 17.04.1982
MORAJKO Jacek POL 26.04.1981
NOVIKOV Nikita RUS 10.11.1989
POELS Wouter NED 01.10.1987
RUIJGH Rob NED 12.11.1986
SELVAGGI Mirko ITA 11.02.1985
VAN HUMMEL Kenny Robert NED 30.09.1982
VEUCHELEN Frederik BEL 04.09.1978
WESTRA Lieuwe NED 11.09.1982
MARKUS Barry NED 17.07.1991
* Provisionally suspended.
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