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“Plouay is a race I love. It’s on the course of the World Championships in 2000. The distance, 230 kilometres, is an advantage to me. Just like the course, with the succession of hills."

Photo: Lotto Soudal

GP OUEST FRANCE-PLOUAY

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JENS DEBUSSCHERE

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JURGEN ROELANDTS

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LOTTO SOUDAL

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LOUIS VERVAEKE

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PIM LIGTHART

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STIG BROECKX

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TIESJ BENOOT

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TIM WELLENS

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TONY GALLOPIN

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29.08.2015 @ 15:50 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

On Sunday, a part of the WorldTour peloton will ride in Plouay, in the French region Bretagne. In this one-day race the riders have to cover almost 230 kilometres. First, the peloton will do eight laps of 26.9 kilometres, at the end it’s one final lap of 13.9 kilometres. Each time the peloton has to get over three hills: the Côte du Lezot, the Minojenn du Calvaire and the Côte de Ty-Marrec. After the last climb there are about three kilometres left.

 

“We have big names in our team," Lotto Soudal sports director Bart Leysen said. "Tim Wellens is in top shape at the moment, he’ll be an important member of the selection.

 

"Since the Tour Tony Gallopin only took part in the test race for the Olympic Games in Rio, where he got fourth. We’ll have to see if that’s any reference, but Tony is a rider for this type of races. He gets a free role.

 

"Last Sunday Tiesj Benoot did a hell of a job for the team in Hamburg, he’s really strong. He also has the capacity to jump away in the finale.

 

“The last lap will be crucial on Sunday. It will be a classic scenario: an early breakaway, a team that controls and catches the leaders by the time of the last lap. We’ll try to get someone in the break, that’s a job for Stig Broeckx, Pim Ligthart and Louis Vervaeke.

 

"It’s then up to other teams to take control of the race. I think of BMC for example, who will probably aim for a late attack with Gilbert and Van Avermaet. On that last hill it will be a fierce battle. If it’s still a sprint Jens Debusschere and Jürgen Roelandts have to get us a good result."

 

In the previous three editions Jürgen Roelandts finished in the top ten. In 2014 he was tenth, in 2013 fourth and in 2012 fifth. The Belgian is looking forward to the race.

 

“Unfortunately, I couldn’t finish the Eneco Tour due to illness," he said. "Last Sunday I took part in the Vattenfall Cyclassics, but with forty kilometres to go I was involved in a crash together with Jens Debusschere and Greg Henderson. I felt pretty good in Hamburg though, and the victory of André Greipel made it an incredible day. Luckily I had no injuries after the crash.

 

“Plouay is a race I love. It’s on the course of the World Championships in 2000. The distance, 230 kilometres, is an advantage to me. Just like the course, with the succession of hills. Also the finish zone suits me, especially the fact that the last few hundred metres are uphill. It’s a tough race, but often a large group of about seventy to eighty riders sprints for the victory. And occasionally an escapee makes it.

 

“We climb the last hill on a smaller road than in the past, the gradient is pretty much the same, but it’s an advantage when you can position yourself well. It’s of course more nervous. After the top it’s about three kilometres to the finish, the wind will be an important factor there. It’s slightly hownhill, if the escapees have backwind they have a bigger chance to stay in front. With one and a half kilometres to go there are two turns and then it continues going downhill till 400 to 300 hundred metres before the line. Then the road goes a bit uphill again.

 

“I hope to be better than in Hamburg and I expect that. I aim for a top ten again. We start with a strong team. Last year Tim Wellens was in front with six others, two seconds later I got third in the sprint of the peloton. In Plouay you have to gamble sometimes, it’s really tactical. In 2011 I was part of a front group of twelve, with Gilbert. We got caught in the last 600 metres. It’s often an exciting last kilometre: will the escapees make it or not? I have a chance when I join a break in the finale as well. In any case, the wind will play a part as well.”

 

Selection Lotto Soudal: 

Tiesj Benoot, Stig Broeckx, Jens Debusschere, Tony Gallopin, Pim Ligthart, Jürgen Roelandts, Louis Vervaeke and Tim Wellens.

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