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"Gerald will get his opportunities in the sprints. Finally I hope that Christian can hold his own on the climbs. Normally they're a bit too long for him, but he's in good shape and will get our full support."

Photo: © Team Stölting Service Group / Mario Stiehl

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13.06.2016 @ 19:47 Posted by Benjamin M. Lillelund

Team Stölting Service Group will race the 40th Route du Sud (2.1) in southern France from Thursday to Sunday. The race will deliver top competition with a mountain stage, a time trial and three additional stages.

Stage 1 from Saint-Pons-de-Thomières to Bessières stretches over 196 km and is likely to end in a sprint despite a couple of climbs in the first half of the stage. Friday will see two half-stages. In the morning there's a 92.4 km stage from Saint-Pierre-de-Trivisy to Albi, the final 3 km hosted by the motorsport race track Circuit d'Albi. The 13.4 km afternoon time trial also starts and finishes on the race track, taking in the hills southwest of Albi in between.

The race's queen stage is held on Saturday, 184.9 km from Saint-Gaudens to Val d'Azun-Couraduque. Several smaller climbs at the start of the stage are followed by the Col du Tourmalet, highest pass in the French Pyrenees and famous from the Tour de France. The peloton will climb the eastern side from Bagnères-de-Bigorre. After descending, the riders still have to crest the second-category Col de Bordères and the first-category finishing climb to the Col de Couraduque. The final stage consists of a 17.6 km circuit around Clermont-Pouyguillès that is raced eight times. The stage will probably be decided in a sprint after 154.8 km.

Team Stölting Service Group fields a young squad guided by two veterans. Gerald Ciolek (GER) will target the sprints after his 6th place at Rund um Köln and is supported by Michael Carbel (DEN), Lasse Norman Hansen (DEN), Thomas Koep (GER), and Mads Pedersen (DEN). The other experienced rider is Michael Reihs (DEN), occupying the important role of road captain. Romain Lemarchand (FRA) also starts in his home country, of course, and in the mountains the team will ride for Christian Mager (GER).

Sports Director André Steensen (DEN) says: “It will be a hard race with a top-class peloton, e.g. Nairo Quintana is preparing for the Tour de France here. Lasse and Mads will try to do a good time trial, that's good training for the Danish ITT champs. Gerald will get his opportunities in the sprints. Finally I hope that Christian can hold his own on the climbs. Normally they're a bit too long for him, but he's in good shape and will get our full support after having worked for the team in the past weeks.”

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