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"I think I can win a classic, but then all the pieces have to come together on that day. I need some luck, because I do not have the engine of Boonen, Sagan and Cancellara but if all goes well, I can also win a classic."

Photo: Lotto Soudal








17.12.2016 @ 10:07 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

For next year, Lotto-Soudal has a lot of classic riders with a fast sprint. With Moreno Hofland also added to the roster, the team aims to take its chance in the biggest races. "But we each have our own qualities," Jens Debusschere tells Sporza.


For almost 10 years, Jürgen Roelandts has been a contender on the Flemish roads. If he is to decide, nothing will change in 2017.


"It is my goal to win at least one classic in my career. I was close a few times and have not always had luck on my side," he told Sporza.


"In Sanremo I was close this year (he was third, ed.), especially when you later hear about the rumors regardining winner Demare on the Cipressa (he reportedly hung onto a car, ed.).


"I think I can win a classic, but then all the pieces have to come together on that day. I need some luck, because I do not have the engine of Boonen, Sagan and Cancellara but if all goes well, I can also win a classic. I get stronger year after year and in some races, like Milan-San Remo, it helps to have more experience. We learn to better read the races."


It is often said that Roelandts has to be bolder. He doesn’t disagree. "I want to take the initiative even more in the future. This can make the difference between winning a classic or being very close.”


Moreno Hofland is the new fast man at Lotto-Soudal. In the past years, he rode for Belkin/LottoNL-Jumbo. "When Lotto heard that I was available, they wanted to have me. The team is always riding attractively and is always on the attack. I missed some of that at Lotto-jumbo. We often rode a bit defensively.


"I've only been here for a few days but I already feel at home. At Lotto, I'll also be with many riders that I know from the youth ranks, guys like Wellens, Vervaeke and De Bie. Here I will get the chance to get back after a bad year.”


Like Roelandts, Jens Debusschere will have cards to play in the classics. He can handle the climbs and is fast at the finish.


"We have many classics sprinters in the team, but everyone has his own qualities. We know which rider we can use where. That should be our trump card”


Debusschere focuses fully on the classics. "I know I will never be a Greipel. I'm not so fast. That is a category too high.


"But I can hold my own in a sprint and I can get my chance in the classics. Hopefully I can win a race of this caliber."


Jens Debusschere and Jürgen Roelandts are both chasing the dream of winning a classic. But a visit to Stig Broeckx who is recovering after having been in a coma for a few months, puts everything into perspective.


"It's very hard to see him like this," said Debusschere. "It was possible to have some communication with him, yes-no questions. We shared some memories.


"Then your own bad luck suddenly relative. I crashed in the Tour and had to go home. That's bad, but you can relativize it right away if you think of Stig."



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