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"I’m realistic. It’s not clear what I can expect for myself on Sunday, but with Tiesj Benoot, Jens Debusschere and Jürgen Roelandts we have a strong team."

Photo: Sirotti

ANDRÉ GREIPEL

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GENT-WEVELGEM

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JASPER DE BUYST

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JENS DEBUSSCHERE

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JURGEN ROELANDTS

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LOTTO SOUDAL

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MARCEL SIEBERG

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TIESJ BENOOT

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26.03.2016 @ 00:15 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

It’s Ghent-Wevelgem this Sunday, a WorldTour race of 242.8 kilometres. Last year was a memorable edition because of the awful weather conditions with a wind that literally blew riders off their bikes. Also this year the wind is expected to play its part, can it be an ally of Lotto Soudal?

 

 

Sports director Herman Frison analyzes the race: 

 

“The course is slightly different than last year, but that won’t influence the race. In the first 150 kilometres the riders still head towards the coast and De Moeren. The hill section has changed, but the new hills aren’t tough ones so there won’t be an impact. The Kemmelberg remains the crucial point on the course. The first time the riders will climb it as usual, the second time on the steep side where they normally take the descent. After the second passage over the Kemmelberg they won’t head back to the Monteberg this year, but that doesn’t matter. The Kemmelberg and the wind are the ingredients of Ghent-Wevelgem. For us the wind is a welcome factor, but preferably less than last year (laughs). Flandrien weather doesn’t scare our riders.

 

“For André Greipel it will be the first race since he abandoned Paris-Nice, his feeling on the Kemmelberg will tell if he can sprint at the end. If the race ends with a sprint that is, because the wind can make it a really tough race. We can also rely on Jens Debusschere, who has just won Dwars door Vlaanderen, and Jürgen Roelandts. Also Tiesj Benoot will start, even though that wasn’t planned originally. Tiesj is strong and has already proven many times that he can start the battle. A strong rider like him is always an advantage.”

 

Earlier this month André Greipel had to leave Paris-Nice due to a rib injury he incurred at the Volta ao Algarve, he needed more time to recover. He gets back in competition this weekend in Ghent-Wevelgem.

 

“I still feel it, but it doesn’t bother me anymore when I’m on the bike," he said. "Actually, I got used to the pain but after I sprinted to the third place in the fourth stage of Paris-Nice I noticed something was really wrong. I put the bike aside for three days and then I started training again because the Classics remained a goal. I was careful, so I didn’t sprint for example. It wasn’t the preparation I had in mind, but I did the best I could in the given circumstances. I also travelled to Mallorca to train a few days on the island.

 

“I followed the performances of the team, but it was difficult to watch the others race without being there. I’m looking forward to join my teammates and contribute to the success.

 

"I don’t know where I stand now. The feeling when I train is good, but as we all know a race is different. I’m realistic. It’s not clear what I can expect for myself on Sunday, but with Tiesj Benoot, Jens Debusschere and Jürgen Roelandts we have a strong team. If I can’t go full myself I will do all I can to help them. But I’m still ambitious. I really would like to win in the next two weeks, that can also happen at the Three Days of De Panne or Scheldeprijs.”

 

Line-up Lotto Soudal (provisional): 

Lars Bak, Tiesj Benoot, Jasper De Buyst, Jens Debusschere, Frederik Frison, André Greipel, Jürgen Roelandts and Marcel Sieberg.

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