Among the overseas outfits named for the Rás this year are the Dutch Koga Cycling Team, the Belgian national squad and the Australian Team Subaru-Albion.
There is a strong track influence in the first two of the teams, with several high achievers amongst the squad. The Koga Cycling Team’s provisional selection includes Nick Stopler, who took silver and bronze in the points and madison respectively at the European track championships two years ago.
The squad also includes Bouke Kuiper, who won a stage in the Tour du Faso in 2011 and who was world track championship silver medallist in the points race four years earlier.
The other three riders likely to take part are the 2012 Dutch national omnium champion Roy Eefting, plus the road and mountain bike competitor Lars Vierbergen.
“Last year we had some top five and top ten placings in stages,” said Cees Van Der Steen, who is part of the team management.
“We were second in the overall team classification. We are going for that again and perhaps we will get a stage victory.”
The track theme continues with on the Belgian national team, where multiple Six Days winner and 2012 world madison champion Kenny De Ketele plus Olympic team pursuit rider Jasper De Buyst will lead the charge.
Another team pursuit rider from London 2012, Moreno De Pauw, will also be part of the line-up.
He is a double European track championship bronze medallist, while Aimé De Gendt was Belgian national TT champion last season. The squad is likely to be completed by Jochen Deweer, a past world junior and European championship silver medallist.
“We won’t have specific leaders, but Kenny De Ketele and Jasper De Buyst are the most experienced riders,” said the Belgian Cycling Federation Director Jos Smets.
“Leadership will depend of the results of the first stages. Our goals are to win a stage and achieve a top ten in the final ranking.”
The Team Subaru Albion team will be representing Australia in the race. The likely team will be Keagan Atkinson, David Early, Chris McLoran, Cam Harrison and Anthony Murray.