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When I look at the participating teams and riders we should get a good overall result with Bart De Clercq and Maxime Monfort. Louis Vervaeke can pick out a stage. We won’t put any pressure on Sander Armée for GC either."

Photo: Lotto Soudal

BART DE CLERCQ

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JELLE WALLAYS

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LOTTO SOUDAL

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LOUIS VERVAEKE

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MAXIME MONFORT

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SANDER ARMEE

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TOSH VAN DER SANDE

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TOUR DE L'AIN

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08.08.2016 @ 21:52 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

It’s becoming a busier time again, starting with the Tour de l’Ain this week. This is a Europe Tour race in the east of France, scheduled from August 10-13.

 

Sander Armée will be one of the six Lotto Soudal riders at the start. After the Tour de Pologne he immediately went to Livigno for a ten-day training camp together with Bart De Clercq and Maxime Monfort. For these three riders this was part of their preparation for the Vuelta which kicks off on Saturday 20 August.

 

Sander Armée said: 

 

“We stayed in a small hotel, at 2208 metres, were we could enjoy delicious Italian meals. That was nice. Of course we were in Italy to focus on our trainings. The first days we took time to recover of the Tour de Pologne and to adapt to the altitude, afterwards the trainings got more intensive. We climbed the Stelvio for example. The toughest ride was on the last day when we covered 190 kilometres and more than 4000 altitude metres. We rode over the Bernina Pass and Julier Pass that day.

 

“The training camp was intended to get some climbing rhythm before the Vuelta and to improve the condition. When I got back home, I took a few days rest before I did some intensive trainings: short, but tough like in a race. The Tour de l’Ain will be the last preparation for the Vuelta. I want to test myself uphill and see how the condition is. When you see the shape is good, it gives you a mental boost. I never just want to ride a race only to prepare for another one though. I always want to do my job for the team or achieve a result myself. It’s also good to go full before the Vuelta. In 2014 I rode this Grand Tour as well. Then I wasn’t quite satisfied, so this is payback time. I now feel better and expect to make something of it.”

 

Sports director Frederik Willems talks about the ambitions for Tour de l’Ain.

 

“There aren’t many races at the moment, but Tour de l’Ain is a perfect race to prepare for the Vuelta. When I look at the participating teams and riders we should get a good overall result with Bart De Clercq and Maxime Monfort. Louis Vervaeke can pick out a stage. We won’t put any pressure on Sander Armée for GC either. He could join a breakaway the first day for example. In theory that first stage is a sprint stage, but I don’t expect a team to take control. I already expect a hard race the first day, we will need to be attentive.

 

“If we do get a sprint on day one, Tosh Van der Sande will sprint. It’s not a complete flat stage, that’s an advantage for Tosh. A good sprint would give him confidence for the Vuelta after his crash at Tour de Wallonie.”

 

The second day the riders have to cover the Côte de Cessiat twice, with top at 690 metres of altitude. During the third stage they have to climb up to 1000 metres. The last stage takes the riders over the Col du Grand Colombier (1501 metres) with top at forty kilometres from the finish.

 

Frederik Willems added: 

 

“This is not a WorldTour race and it seems to be a race in which we will have to show initiative. After the first stage the courses keep getting tougher. The final stage over the Grand Colombier will be decisive for GC.”

 

Line-up Lotto Soudal: 

Sander Armée, Bart De Clercq, Maxime Monfort, Tosh Van der Sande, Louis Vervaeke and Jelle Wallays.

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