• Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto-Soudal) at this year's Tirreno-Adriatico. (Sirotti)
Coming full circle after a seven-year hiatus, Jurgen Van den Broeck returns to the race that first defined him as a Grand Tour rider.
By
Cycling Central

15 Apr 2015 - 3:20 PM  UPDATED 15 Apr 2015 - 3:22 PM

"Of course I'm really pleased the team selected me for the Giro. It was already obvious for a while now that I won't go to the Tour and that’s fine. Taking part in the Giro is a return to the place where it all began for me as a GC rider," said Van den Broeck.

In 2007 as a 24-year-old, and his first year with the team he still rides for, now called Lotto-Soudal, the Belgian finished 74th overall at the Giro d'Italia, his first Grand Tour. The following year, he finished seventh overall behind Alberto Contador.

To prepare for his 12th Grand Tour outing, the Giro to start on May 9 in San Lorenzo al Mare, Van den Broeck, now 32, spent two-and-a-half weeks in Tenerife. As a final tune-up, his next race appointment is the Tour de Romandie, which begins on April 28. "I'll try to be as good as possible in the Tour de Romandie and then the Giro starts.

"The past few weeks I took part in two WorldTour stage races as planned: Tirreno-Adriatico and the Volta a Catalunya. In Tirreno I was eleventh. Top 10 would have been nicer, but I was close. In Catalunya the focus of the team and me changed when Bart De Clercq took the leader's jersey.

"It was a long and hard road, and I underestimated the impact."

"Of course I will do everything I can to do well. I urged the team to select me and now I want to live up to the expectations. The Tour de Romandie will be a reference to see if a top ten in Giro is a realistic goal.

"I now feel much better than last year at this time of the year, because I had a tough winter period due to a combination of my rehabilitation after my crash in (last year's) Tour and working on basic condition. It was a long and hard road, and I underestimated the impact."

Said Lotto-Soudal team manager Marc Sergeant: "Jurgen let us know he really wanted to go to the Giro; we spoke about that and we all can benefit from a good result. Also mentally, this is important for Jurgen, I think. He can do what he loves most, ride a Grand Tour.

"If you want to be good in the Giro, you already have to be good in Romandie. That will also be the goal in the Giro. With a place in top 10, I will be satisfied. That seems a correct goal to me for a rider who finished in top five of the Tour the past years and was 13th last year in difficult circumstances."