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“I cherish the Eneco Tour very much. In 2014 this race was my first victory so that’s why I’m very attached to it. This year it will be harder to win the GC again. First of all because I’m not as good as I hoped."

















17.09.2016 @ 22:10 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Lotto Soudal have announced their line-up for the Eneco Tour.


This year the Eneco Tour is scheduled later than usual. On Monday September 19th the start of the twelfth edition will be given in Friesland (The Netherlands). The first stage will take place in the Dutch city Bolsward. Seven days later the race will arrive in Geraardsbergen and then we know who will be the successor of Tim Wellens.



Sports director Herman Frison finds the course of this edition of the Eneco Tour not too difficult. He sees it as a preparation for the World Championships in Qatar.


“It looks like the Eneco Tour is based on the World Championships in Qatar. First of all it’s scheduled much later than usual in the cycling calendar and there are a lot of flat stages. Not even the stage in the Ardennes is hard. All courses are rather flat and the first day could be a simulation of what can happen in Qatar: if there is a bit of wind, the riders can form echelons. The hardest day on the bike will be the stage to Geraardsbergen, but that’s the last one and usually the team of the GC leader controls the race and then there are no big differences anymore. The individual time trial and the team time trial will be very important to take time because all the other stages will end in a sprint. If you look at the team selections, you notice riders like Kittel and Groenewegen. Lotto Soudal can rely on a strong sprint train with Greipel, Debusschere, Roelandts, Sieberg and Bak. All our riders have the skills to do well in the sprint and team time trial.


“Our first goal is to bring home a victory as fast as possible. We want to show that we can win a stage. After that we want a good GC of course. It’s not sure yet if Tim Wellens will be the GC rider of the team. We’ll make the ultimate decision after the team time trial. It depends on who’s in the best spot then to go for the classification. The stage in the Ardennes is not hard enough for Wellens to make big time differences. That’s why also the bonus seconds at the finish will be important. However, I always say that the course doesn’t have to be tough to make it a tough race. So that’s what Lotto Soudal is going to try: make the race hard.”


Tim Wellens won the general classification of the Eneco Tour two times in a row now, but he says that this year it will be harder to achieve a good result.


“I cherish the Eneco Tour very much. In 2014 this race was my first victory so that’s why I’m very attached to it. This year it will be harder to win the GC again. First of all because I’m not as good as I hoped. After the races in Canada I participated in the GP de Wallonie and I wasn’t good. Maybe I had bad legs or maybe I still suffered of the long flight back home. I don’t know. Adding to that, the course of this year’s Eneco Tour doesn’t suit me very well. The organization decided to cut my favourite stage, the one to La Redoute. Fortunately the time trial and the team time trial are no disadvantage. The circuit of the individual time trial is the same as the one in 2014. Usually I’m not at my best in a flat time trial, but if the legs are good that shouldn’t make any difference.

“The stage in the Ardennes is usually the stage where I take over the leader’s jersey. This year the finish is in Lanaken and the flat finale will make big time differences almost impossible. The last stage to Geraardsbergen will be the most important one in this edition but also the bonus seconds and the time trial will be decisive. After the time trial on the second day we’ll know immediately if I can achieve a good overall result or not.”



Lars Bak, Tiesj Benoot, Jens Debusschere, Frederik Frison, André Greipel, Jürgen Roelandts, Marcel Sieberg and Tim Wellens.



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