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Last year, after railing across the gravel roads of Tuscany, Zdenek Stybar took a fantastic win in Strade Bianche, thus confirming his potential for one-day races. Now, he will return to Siena as the defending champion and will try to have...

Photo: Etixx-QuickStep / Tim De Waele

BOB JUNGELS

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DAVIDE MARTINELLI

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DECEUNINCK - QUICK-STEP

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DRIEDAAGSE VAN WEST-VLAANDEREN

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GIANLUCA BRAMBILLA

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GUILLAUME VAN KEIRSBULCK

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JULIAN ALAPHILIPPE

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JULIEN VERMOTE

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LAURENS DE PLUS

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MATTEO TRENTIN

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MAXIME BOUET

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MAXIMILIANO RICHEZE

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PETR VAKOC

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RODRIGO CONTRERAS

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STRADE BIANCHE

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TONY MARTIN

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YVES LAMPAERT

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ZDENEK STYBAR

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03.03.2016 @ 20:31 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Etixx-QuickStep have announced their line-ups for both Strade Bianche and Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen which they won in 2015.

 

Created more than seven decades ago, what is today known as Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen beared other names in the past, such as Omloop der Vlaamse Ardennen and the Guldensporentweedaagse, and has evolved since its early days from a one-day race to a stage event. Throughout the years, it was dominated by the Belgians, among the ones to take the spoils being Wilfried Peeters, who now acts as sport director for the team, and in more recent times, Julien Vermote and Yves Lampaert.

Scheduled to take place between 4-6 March, Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen will open in Middelkerke for the sixth year in a row, with a fast and rolling prologue, and will continue with a challenging stage during which the peloton will cover four hills: Tiegemberg (twice), Holstraat and Oude Kwaremont. The final day will be the most difficult of the race, as the riders will face eight climbs (including Kemmelberg and Catteberg) and five cobbled sectors, on which the ones fighting for the overall classification will have a good shot at making the difference.

Six of the Etixx – Quick-Step men who will ride the 70th Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen will do it after previously helping Niki Terpstra in his victorious campaign at Le Samyn, earlier this week: Julian Alaphilippe, Rodrigo Contreras, Laurens De Plus, Davide Martinelli, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck and Lukasz Wisniowski. They will be joined by Maxime Bouet, who’ll return to a Belgian stage race for the first time in eight years, and Maximiliano Richeze. The 32-year-old, who kicked-off his season by taking the leader’s jersey on the first stage of Tour de San Luis, will be back in action following a six-week break caused by a bone fisure on the neck of the left femur, which he suffered in the Argentinian race.

Also this week, but on Saturday, the team will race in Italy for the first time this season, in Strade Bianche, an event we won in the past two years. Celebrating its 10th edition, the race sticks to the course that has made it one of the fans’ favourite since 2007. Starting and finishing in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Siena, Strade Bianche consists of punchy climbs, mostly with a double-digit gradient and coming on unpaved roads. To make it more spectacular, 53 of the 176 kilometers of the event will be on the famous gravel roads, appearing in nine sectors, the last two – Colle Pinzuto and La Tolfe – having a big chance of proving decisive in the outcome.

Last year, after railing across the gravel roads of Tuscany, Zdenek Stybar took a fantastic win in Strade Bianche, thus confirming his potential for one-day races. Now, he will return to Siena as the defending champion and will try to have another solid ride, supported by a very strong team which includes also Gianluca Brambilla, Bob Jungels, Yves Lampaert (making his return after the Volta ao Algarve crash which sidelined him from the opening Belgian week-end), three-time ITT world champion Tony Martin, Matteo Trentin, Julien Vermote and Petr Vakoc, who showed his very good condition last week-end, when he won both Classic Sud-Ardèche and Drôme Classic.

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