Team DSM have announced their squad for the upcoming Tour de France, with French climber Romain Bardet set to lead the way in his first race back following his Giro d’Italia abandon in May.
After a year away from the race in 2021, Bardet will return for his ninth start at the Tour in Copenhagen on July 1. The 31-year-old has two podium spots to his name as well as three stage wins, the mountains classification, and the combativity prize.
Bardet has enjoyed a very good 2022 campaign so far, having won the Tour of the Alps and riding a strong first half of the Giro d’Italia, lying in contention for a podium spot before his abandon due to illness on stage 13.
He is the sole Frenchman on the DSM team, which also includes sprinter and Giro d’Italia stage winner Alberto Dainese, and Classics star John Degenkolb.
Dainese, who took the biggest win of his career so far in Reggio Emilia on the Giro in May, makes his Tour debut and will hope to mix it up in the sprint stages against the likes of Fabio Jakobsen, Sam Bennett, and Wout van Aert.
Degenkolb, meanwhile, makes his eighth appearance at the race and first since 2020. The German veteran won the cobbled stage to Roubaix in 2018 and returns to the Tour after missing the 2021 edition.
One notable absence from the DSM Tour lineup is Søren Kragh Andersen. The 27-year-old all-rounder took two of team’s three stage wins at the 2020 race but doesn’t make the cut this time around.
Kragh Andersen is set to leave the team when his contract expires at the end of the season, with Alpecin-Deceuninck rumoured to be in pole position for his signature.
Climbers Chris Hamilton, Kevin Vermaerke, and Andreas Leknessund do make the cut, however. The 23-year-old Leknessund makes his Tour debut off the back of a strong showing at the Tour de Suisse, where he took a stage win. His fellow sophomore pro Vermaerke also makes his race debut, as does the 27-year-old Hamilton, who last raced at the Giro.
The Dutch pairing of Nils Eekhoff and Martin Tusveld round out the Dutch squad’s eight-man selection, the latter another debutant while Eekhoff starts his second Tour after making his debut last July.
“We’re all looking forward to the 2022 Tour de France,” said team coach Matt Winston. “Every day we will have to be sharp and that starts right from the opening day with the TT in Copenhagen which is followed by potential for crosswinds and nervous stages in the rest of our time in Denmark.
“We then transfer to France where we’re straight back into action with some tricky stages, including over the cobblestones, where we expect to see a big fight. A tough middle part of the race follows in the mountains which then continues as we head towards the Pyrenees before the traditional finale in Paris.
“Our main goal for the three weeks is to go for stage results. We will focus day-by-day on how the race is progressing and come up with plans for where we see that our chances lie. We have a really motivated group of guys who are full of ambition, as we look to compete in the sprint stages and in the more mountainous days as well.”
Team DSM for the 2022 Tour de France
Romain Bardet, John Degenkolb, Alberto Dainese, Andreas Leknessund, Chris Hamilton, Kevin Vermaerke, Martijn Tusveld, Nils Eekhoff