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Greipel, Ciolek and Bos spearhead a formidable line-up of sprinters for the short Dutch-Belgian race

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ANDRÉ GREIPEL

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GERALD CIOLEK

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GERT STEEGMANS

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MORENO HOFLAND

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SAM BENNETT

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WORLD PORTS CLASSIC

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24.04.2014 @ 23:17 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The third edition of the windy, flat Dutch-Belgian stage race World Ports Classic will take place on a classic route between the major ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam but will have a different spot on the calendar. Traditionally held in August, the race will now take place in May and will welcome several sprint stars like André Greipel, Theo Bos, Gerald Ciolek and Sam Bennett.

 

The 3rd edition of the World Ports Classic on 24th and 25th May awaits the sprinters of the elite pack for a journey between Rotterdam, Antwerp and back to Rotterdam, with more than 350 kilometres of high pressure racing to be covered, on terrain often buffeted by the winds from the North Sea!
 
There is a start to a new sequence on the horizon for stage victory hunters of all types on the major stage races. One month after the completion of the grand spring classics, the sprint experts and wind specialists will be coming together in Belgium and the Netherlands for a series of meetings, of which the World Ports Classic will be one of the major tests.
 
The details of the return journey between Rotterdam, Antwerp and Rotterdam again, unveiled this morning, confirmed that the main pretenders for victory on this third edition will have to exert control throughout a highly intense weekend.
 
To kick off proceedings, the 195 kilometres on the programme will take the pack on a prolonged ride down the coast on portions particularly exposed to the wind. The following day, the conclusion to the race will take place over 159 kilometres, with intermediate sprints that could prove decisive when it comes to the crunch.
 
This battle over two acts is on the radar of some of the major sprint specialists who are looking to succeed Nicolas Maes on the roll of honour. Among the 18 teams invited, including 7 elite teams, André Greipel has chosen the World Ports Classic to prepare the Tour de France, accompanied by his lead-out men Jurgen Roelandts and Marcel Sieberg.
 
The Gorilla will most probably have to duke it out with Gerald Ciolek, the winner of Milan - San Remo in 2013, as well as Gert Steegmans or even Sam Bennett.
 
However, the Dutch will also have legitimate ambitions to attempt to follow in the footsteps of the Belgians who triumphed on the first two editions: with Theo Bos, stage winner in Rotterdam in 2012, or with the country’s revelation in the speciality, Moreno Hofland, winner of the sprint at Saint-Georges-sur-Baulche during Paris-Nice.
 
The 18 teams selected
 
Belgium
Lotto Belisol
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team
Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise
Wallonie - Bruxelles
Wanty - Groupe Gobert
 
France
AG2R La Mondiale
Bretagne - Séché Environnement
Cofidis, Solutions Crédits
 
Germany
Team NetApp Endura
 
Italy
Yellow Fluo
 
Kazakhstan
Astana Pro Team
 
Netherlands
Belkin - Pro Cycling Team
Cycling Team de Rijke
Metec - TKH Continental Cycling Team
Team Giant – Shimano
 
Russia
Katusha Team
 
South Africa
MTN – Qhubeka
 
Switzerland
IAM Cycling

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