Returning after a strong showing last year, the line-up of the Dutch national team for the FBD INSURANCE RÁS has been announced. The 2008 selection has a distinct track racing background and, as proven by the British and teams in the past, will have a related turn of speed which could really shake up the eight day world ranked race.

Making the announcement Race Organiser Dermot Dignam said “I’m really pleased the Dutch are returning again this year, they are a great cycling nation, and with the experience gained last year will be favourites to defeat the pro teams from Iran, Norway, Ireland and Britain, and also the powerful amateur squads from Bulgaria, France and Germany and of course the best of our own county riders”

The squad will be led by Jenning Huizenga, who last month took silver in the individual pursuit at the track world championships in Manchester. The 24 year old was also runner up in the same discipline at the Los Angeles World Cup, and is expected to be one of the front runners for a pursuit medal at this summer’s Olympic Games.

The oldest member of the team is Robert Slippens who, at 33 years of age, will bring experience to what is otherwise a very young team. The track specialist has taken multiple national championships and six day wins, as well as being European Madison champion in 2002.

Levi Heimans (22) and 24 year old Geert-Jan Jonkman are also very adept in the velodrome. Heimans won the individual pursuit in the Sydney round of the World Cup in 2005, and previously competed on Irish roads when he competed in the Junior Tour of Ireland in 2002. Jonkman was national scratch race champion in 2007 and took a silver medal in the 2004 European championship team pursuit in Valencia.

The team is completed by 19 year old Maurice Schreurs. He won a stage and the overall classification in the 2006 Junior Giro della Toscana, then confirmed that strength when he placed second in last season’s Hel van Voerendaal.

The Dutch national selection now joins pro teams from Iran and Norway and powerful amateur squads from Bulgaria, France and Germany that have already named selections for the FBD INSURANCE RÁS, which begins in Navan on Sunday May 18th and finishes eight stages later in Skerries on May 25th. Further pro teams are expected to join the line-up in the coming weeks.

As always, the 2008 FBD INSURANCE RÁS is expected to be an unpredictable, fiercely contested and dramatic race.

The race will start on May 18th and features stage-end finishes in Ballinamore, Claremorris, Lisdoonvarna, Tralee, Skibbereen, Clonmel, and Roundwood. The final day of racing will take place on Sunday 25th May and runs from Newbridge to Skerries.


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