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"We have to make the race hard before the circuit. Hopefully, the peloton is in pieces, but there will not be much more than three, four or five groups separated by 30 seconds."

Photo: Etixx-QuickStep / Tim De Waele




13.10.2016 @ 15:49 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Tom Boonen and Greg Van Avermaet, the two Belgian top riders for the road race at the Worlds checked the course in Qatar on Thursday morning.. Boonen know that the Belgians have to make hard the race hard and Van Avermaet refuses to give predictions.


Tom Boonen has won more than 20 times in Qatar, but was still a bit surprised after the course recon.


"This circuit at The Pearl is a bit special. On paper it seemed technical, but in reality it is quite different," Boonen told Sporza.


"The wind also plays a role, but not a lot. The circuit contains a lot of bends and roundabouts, so the peloton will continuously be strung out. It is important to ride in front.


"We have to make the race hard before the circuit. Hopefully, the peloton is in pieces, but there will not be much more than three, four or five groups separated by 30 seconds. Once we get to the circuit, there are 106 kilometers . Everything will again be back together after one lap.


"Maybe 40 guys are dropped in the desert, but I fear that it is a bit of a slap in the water in terms of echelons. We cannot do more than trying to split the peloton and ensuring that there is a difference when we arrive at The Pearl.


"The peloton may come back together but it is important to make everyone tired along the way. We'll see how it goes on Sunday. It's a Worlds so everyone will do his best to be there. On The Pearl, you have to use the wind in the last kilometers. You can prepare the sprint three kilometers from the finish and we have the team for that with the Belgians.”


Besides Tom Boonen, Greg Van Avermaet is the second Belgian leader.


“I'm not fond of this course but I knew that before the recon," said the Olympic champion.


"After all, I also did the Tour of Qatar where we did the circuit four times in the second. I had an idea and my impression has not really changed much compared to this morning when I woke up.


"Here and there something has changed in the circuit. The course is less technical, some turns are easier. That is a setback, I would prefer it to be more difficult.


"Attacking on the circuit? It is difficult, I do not really have a point in my head where I think I can make a difference. The sprinters are here in rich numbers. On this course I will definitely not give a breakaway much of a chance.


"Much will become clearer on Sunday, it is difficult to predict now. You need to feel the race and see how much impact the heat has and how you feel at the end."



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