Veteran riders Michael Albasini, Jack Bauer and Cameron Meyer will line up alongside neo-pros Edoardo Affini and Callum Scotson, and second-year pro Rob Stannard, while 26-year-old New Zealander Dion Smith splits the difference, age-wise, to complete the seven-man squad.
Smith’s compatriot Bauer knows the Belgo-Dutch race well, and appears to be putting his hand up for a leadership role for this year’s BinckBank Tour by taking aim at the importance of the short 8.4km individual time trial that takes place around The Hague, in the Netherlands, on Saturday.
“If you want to have a good overall, or be up there for any of the stages, you’ve got to be on your toes in this race,” Bauer said on the team’s website. “First and foremost, there are often splits because of the layout of the stages – wind can cut the bunch, crashes can cut the bunch and there’s a lot of road furniture up in that part of the world.
“Last year, Matej Mohoric [Bahrain-Merida] won overall, and he set that win up through a select breakaway, and I’d expect something similar to happen this year. The key is to be part of the move on the day the breakaway goes to the line, and then pull out a decent time trial,” he said.
Of Saturday’s time trial, Bauer continued: “It’s almost prologue length – less than nine kilometres – so there won’t be big gaps in the time trial, but it can still be important.
“The time trial itself will be a big goal for me. I always like to have a crack at a TT, and I’ve been spending a fair bit of time on the bike post-Giro d’Italia, with the idea of having a crack at the time trial at BinckBank. But the time trial can’t be the only goal. I’d like to do a decent overall result as well, but we’ll have to see how the legs are.”
Bauer admitted that he’d only had one day of racing since returning from his break following the Giro: the RideLondon-Surrey Classic at the start of August, where he finished 84th.
“But I want to start this last half of the year strong, and this is the place to do it – at BinckBank, with a race that suits me, with stages that have a bit of everything, and a time trial,” he said.
Sports director Laurenzo Lapage echoed the importance of the race’s time-trial stage.
“The TT is a short one and completely flat, but it’s important. The BinckBank Tour is always decided by just a few seconds,” Lapage said.
“The first three stages are flat, the fourth is the harder one around Houffalize [Belgium], followed by another flat stage and then the time trial,” he said.
“We have quite a young team, so we will be attentive, and the guy who is in a good position after the Houffalize stage will become a protected rider,” explained Lapage.