The expected push by Vuelta a España breakthrough rider Tom Dumoulin for stage race success next season and beyond has seen his Giant-Alpecin team make a signing that could boost the Dutchman’s goal.
Laurens ten Dam, who has top ten finishes in the Tour de France and Vuelta a España to his credit, has inked a one-year deal with the team.
He will back both Dumoulin and Warren Barguil, the French climber who took two stages in the 2013 Vuelta, his first Grand Tour.
Ten Dam was ninth in last year’s Tour de France and eighth in the 2012 Vuelta a España. He has a strong climbing ability and will be an important right hand man for Giant-Alpecin’s general classification leaders.
The current LottoNL-Jumbo rider said that a setback this season prompted him to have a rethink.
“I broke my back two weeks after the Tour de France, which made me step back and look at a few things differently,” he explained.
“I wanted to do a good season in Europe and live in the US. At Team Giant-Alpecin all this came together in a good way, and I will have those opportunities.”
Team Giant-Alpecin coach Rudi Kemna believes the near-35 year old is a perfect fit. “We were looking for a rider who is strong in the high mountains to support our GC riders and who also fit in with the profile and philosophy of the team. In Laurens we have found that rider.”
He said that while Giant-Alpecin usually focuses on developing younger riders, a change would be made in this case.
“The relatively ‘older’ ten Dam was recruited for a particular task in the overall team, for which Team Giant-Alpecin had identified his specific experience and skills,” he said.
“We know that he has class and we expect him to play a significant and specific role in the team’s race plan on the climbs. Besides his physical ability, we will make use of his tactical knowledge.”
He said that the team will endeavour to help ten Dam to make further improvements as a rider.
The Dutchman, who won a stage in the 2008 Criterium International, said he was willing to ride for others.
“I am looking forward to working in a challenging new environment and aim to play an important role for Warren Barguil and Tom Dumoulin, and to share my experience on the highest level.”