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Intermarché-Wanty unveils solid Tour de France selection

On Saturday June 29, Intermarché-Wanty begins its seventh Tour de France in Florence (Tuscany) towards reaching Nice on July 21. The Walloon World Team unveils a solid selection with the ambition of winning the very first stage victory in its history in the Tour and being among the ten best riders in the final individual ranking.

PARCOURS

For the seventh Tour in its history, Intermarché-Circus-Wanty will participate to an unprecedented Grand Départ and final. Because for the first time, this 111th edition will start in Italy on 29th of June from Florence for three days in the country. And for the first time, the Tour de France will not finish in the capital but in Nice with a time trial along the Côte d’Azur on 21st of July.

The 21 stages through Italy, San Marino, Monaco and France are divided in two time trials, eight flat stages, four hilly stages among which one containing gravel roads, and seven mountain stages. Next to the stages in the Appennines and the Massif Central, four finish on a mountain top in the Pyrenees or the Alps.

The opening stage between Florence and Rimini is the Grand Départ with the highest amount of climbing meters in the history of the Tour, namely 3600 meters. The second day, a double ascension of the Madonna di San Luca promises a difficult final towards Bologna, on the eve of a first opportunity for the sprinters in the longest stage of this edition towards Torino.

The peloton will head to the French Alps on the fourth day, with a finish after the descent of the Col du Glibber. The first time trial occurs on the seventh day with 25 kilometer until Gerry-Chambertin, preceding a spectacular ninth stage with 32 kilometer of unpaved roads around Troyes, divided in fourteen sectors. 

After the first rest day, the peloton will cross the open fields between Orléans and Saint-Amand-Montrond to reach the Massif Central on day eleven with more than 4300 climbing meters in this stage. After two transition stages, two big days in the Pyrenees come up. The first mountain top finish on Pla d’Adet follows the ascensions of the Col du Tourmalet and Hourquette d’Ancizan. The next day ends on top of Plateau de Beille, which is preceded by five other climbs.

The third week brings the peloton back towards the Alps for three decisive uphill finishes. An explosive final towards Superdévoluy awaits the riders on day seventeen. In the nineteenth stage, three summits higher than 2000 meter will have to be conquered: the Col de Vars, Cime de la Bonette (the highest paved road in France at 2802m) and the final climb towards Isola 2000. 

The final mountain stage contains the Col de Turini and la Colmiane in the direction of the finish on top of   Col de la Couillole, preceding the final time trial of 34 kilometer between Monaco and Nice, passing the Col d’Èze.

SELECTION

For its seventh Tour de France, Intermarché-Wanty unveils a solid selection with three Belgians, several Grand Tours stage winners and three beginners, who will compete under the direction of Aike Visbeek, Laurenzo Lapage and Dimitri Claeys.

Seventh in the 2022 Tour de France, but also eighth in 2016 and 2017, the South African climber Louis Meintjes is the rider designated for the general classification for the fourth consecutive year. Winner this year in the Basque Country, Meintjes has been competing with the best climbers since joining the World Team in 2021, also tenth in La Vuelta 2022 where he won a stage.

Giro stage and Gent-Wevelgem winner Biniam Girmay is competing in his second consecutive Tour de France. The Eritrean rider has demonstrated his great condition in recent weeks, with a victory on the Franco-Belgian Circuit, second places at the Brussels Classic and the Rund um Köln after his stage podium at the Giro, in addition to his victory at the Surf Coast Classic in January.

Sprinter Gerben Thijssen is discovering the Grande Boucle for the first time, he is one of three Belgians in the selection. Since his arrival at Intermarché-Wanty, he has won nine victories against the elite sprinters. This year, he won at the Trofeo Palma and at the Tour of the Algarve, and recently reached the podium at the Tour of Belgium against Tim Merlier and Jasper Philipsen.

In addition to Thijssen, the young Hugo Page and Laurenz Rex are the two other debutants in the selection for this Tour de France. In 2023, they made solid debuts on a Grand Tour, Page on La Vuelta and Rex on the Giro, with several top 10s. And this season, they distinguished themselves helping the team by contributing to the victories of Girmay and Thijssen, in addition to personal achievements such as Rex’s victory on Le Samyn and Page’s podium on the Critérium du Dauphiné. 

The experienced figure is embodied by Mike Teunissen, stage winner in the 2019 Tour de France and wearer of the yellow jersey, he has four Tours to his credit. This season he has played a major role in the sprint train and classics, alongside Biniam Girmay and Gerben Thijssen, and recently placed fourth in the national championship in the sprint won by Dylan Groenewegen.

Climbers Kobe Goossens and Georg Zimmermann complete the selection. The Belgian Goossens made an impressive return to competition after eight months of injury, immediately in the top 10 at World Tour level at the Eschborn-Frankfurt classic and the Tour de Romandie, he is at the start of his second Tour. As for Zimmermann, stage winner on the Dauphiné, he is starting his fourth Tour in a row alongside Louis Meintjes, coming very close to victory last year with second place in Issoire.

« Our goals in this Tour de France are clear: to win our very first stage and place Louis Meintjes in the top 10 of the general classification. The selection we assembled has been preparing for this since the winter. We already had six names known, the last two were decided in the last two months. Kobe Goossens was in the recovery phase, it was necessary to assess the situation step by step. He is ready, with Georg Zimmermann, to support Louis Meintjes in the mountains. Both will also be vigilant to breakaways, particularly in hilly and transitional stages. » « With already a Tour de France under his belt, Biniam Girmay leads our team with more experience. Even if his preparation was adapted due to his double crashinat the Giro, Biniam displays excellent condition and recent boost of confidence with his victory in Circuit Franco-Belge. We are in this Tour with another top sprinter with Gerben Thijssen, making his debut. This gives us several options tactically in the sprint finishes. But above all, Gerben's objective on this Tour is to learn and gain experience.» « Then we have Mike Teunissen as captain and leadout. With Laurenz Rex and Hugo Page, who are also very fast assets with a big engine, they will have the mission of keeping the sprint train in position. There is a mix of experience and young beginners in this selection. We are counting on Meintjes and Teunissen to take the other riders under their wings. This group has the capacity to gain strength throughout this Tour and to achieve our ambitions and win our first stage of the Tour.»

RESULTS

General Classification

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