Team Visma | Lease a Bike starts road season '24 on Australian soil

Team Visma | Lease a Bike starts road season '24 on Australian soil

Team Visma | Lease a Bike will usher in the new road season next week with the Tour Down Under. With a mix of experienced forces and young talents, the yellow-black team wants to show itself in the first WorldTour stage race. Milan Vader and newcomer Bart Lemmen look ahead to the Australian race that starts on January 16.

Vader, the overall winner of the 2023 Gree-Tour of Guangxi, is heading to the Australian stage race well prepared as a leader. "When I came back from Guangxi, I didn't take too long a vacation because the Tour Down Under requires special preparation. And with all the tests - which are common in the fall - in between, some training time was taken away anyway. I actually went straight to Spain to train intensively for a few weeks. During this period, I could also get used to the heat because it can get very hot in Australia."

"Together with the coaches and the team, we looked at the right tactics to make it a successful and instructive week," the 27-year-old Zeeuw continued. "This course is very different from the course in China. There are more height meters in it, and there will also be harder racing. A couple of stages could suit me well. In the second stage, there is a steep climb a few kilometers from the finish; there might be opportunities there. Stage five ends on Willunga Hill, a finish that definitely suits me. Also, on the last day, there are good opportunities, I think. Still, it will also take some time to see how everyone has come out of the winter period."

"I immediately felt welcome and really part of the team.""

Bart Lemmen

Lemmen, who was still a full-time soldier in the Air Force two years ago and did not ride his first pro race until 2023, is making his debut in Australia for Team Visma | Lease a Bike. "I really like the first few months. Everyone is nice, and the team is gigantically professional on every level. That suits me very well and gives me confidence for the future. In addition, I immediately felt welcome and really part of the team."

"The preparation for my first match for the team started in November, together with coach Espen Aareskjold," explained the 28-year-old Dutchman. "Since then, I have neatly completed all the training sessions, and we have been working more and more intensively. In Spain, I then made another nice step and connected all the dots. Last year I still had to work during this period; now I have had more time to train, and the training forms are different. I really like all this."

The former professional soldier is at the start in Australia with personal and team goals. "During the stages, I will try to assist Milan as much as possible in his classification ambitions, and my personal goals lie there too. I hope to be of value to Milan by supporting him well into the final. Apart from that, I'm also just really happy to make my debut for the team."

Besides Vader and Lemmen, Koen Bouwman, Robert Gesink, Loe van Belle, Johannes Staune-Mittet, and Mick van Dijke are also part of Team Visma | Lease a Bike's seven-man selection.

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