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" I like the Belgium Tour. It's an important race for the team as well, so I'm ambitious to win stages. The first and second stage are obviously suited for a bunch sprint," Greipel says

Photo: A.S.O.

ANDRÉ GREIPEL

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BELGIUM TOUR

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FREDERIK WILLEMS

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GREGORY HENDERSON

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JENS DEBUSSCHERE

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JURGEN ROELANDTS

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KRIS BOECKMANS

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LOTTO SOUDAL

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PIM LIGTHART

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STIG BROECKX

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28.05.2014 @ 11:37 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Last week André Greipel had a successful return to competition when he won a stage in the World Ports Classic. The German targets more success when he lines up in the Tour of Belgium as the leader of a strong Lotto-Belisol team that will mostly be focused on success in the sprints.

 


Today the Baloise Belgium Tour will start, the former Tour of Belgium. It's a stage race of five days, part of the Europe Tour. The first two stages are suited for a bunch sprint, on Friday there's a time trial scheduled and the last two days the peloton rides in Wallonie where the riders have to race on hilly terrain.

The team presentation takes place in Lochristi yesterday, where the peloton starts the first stage. The riders can explore the finish in Buggenhout two times before the stage win will be decided, there are two loops of 30.3 kilometers in the second half of the race.

 

A day later the stage starts in Lierde. The legs can be immediately tested on Ten Bosse and Valkenberg. For the rest there are no climbs on the way to Knokke-Heist. Although the riders get an uphill finish at the coast, on De Wandelaar. In this stage there are two local laps at the end of 30.5 kilometers. On Friday there's a time trial of 16.8 kilometers with start and finish in Diksmuide.


Just like last year the penultimate stage takes place for a big part around Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure. The Petit Poggio – 700 meters long with an average gradient of 6.4 % - has to be climbed four times that day.

 

The last stage consists of two laps of less than 90 kilometers with six hills, the first is the Mur de Huy. The Côte les Cahottes is the last one, next there are seventeen mainly descending kilometers towards the finish.

 

At the start are among other Tom Boonen, Theo Bos, Philippe Gilbert, Greg Van Avermaet and Sep Vanmarcke. Lotto Belisol riders Jürgen Roelandts and André Greipel talked about their ambitions during a press moment.

"I was lucky I could stay on my bike in the final of the World Ports Classic on Sunday," Greipel said. "The traffic islands on the road made it dangerous.

 

"After my injury and rest period it wasn't difficult for me to sprint again. My shoulder, which got injured in Ghent-Wevelgem, doesn't bother me at all. I proved that on Saturday. Even with the headwind we had the power to stay in front.


" I like the Belgium Tour. It's an important race for the team as well, so I'm ambitious to win stages. The first and second stage are obviously suited for a bunch sprint.  Also on the fourth day I might play along for the stage win. Last year I got second at Lacs de l'Eay d'Heure. I'm ready, the whole team's in shape.

 

"After the Belgium Tour we'll further prepare for the Tour de France via the Tour of Luxembourg, Ster ZLM Toer and then I'll ride the German championship. That will be a last time to check my legs before the Tour."

"After my crash in the Tour of Flanders I couldn't race for two and a half weeks," Roelandts said. "Next I went on training camp to the Sierra Nevada for sixteen days, together with Jens Debusschere. Immediately after the training camp I wasn't top yet, as a consequence of training in the mountains. Still my work in the sprint train went well, the last percents can follow soon.
 
"In the Belgium Tour we will aim for a stage win with André Greipel on the first two days. Tirreno-Adriatico was the last time we had set up a train for André. Saturday in Antwerp it was immediately successful. Also the Belgium Tour is a good test for the Tour.

 

"In the last two stages in the Belgium Tour there are possibilities for me, depending on how the race develops. If there's an opportunity I will grab it with both hands."

 

Selection Lotto Belisol: Kris Boeckmans, Stig Broeckx, Jens Debusschere, André Greipel, Greg Henderson, Pim Ligthart, Jürgen Roelandts and Frederik Willems.

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