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"We have 5 motivated riders here and with Martin Reimer we can finish top 5 if he is on a good day. We will need to race smart though and let the other teams do the work," Cornelisse says










19.03.2014 @ 10:54 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

MTN-Qhubeka will continue to gather experience in the Belgian races when they line up for today's Nokere Koerse and Friday's Handzame Classic. The team will count on Martin Reimer to take a top 5 result and he will be supported by four African riders who will be looking to get to know the special trade of classics racing even better.


Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung continues with its Spring Classics campaign when they line up for the Nokere Koerse – Danlith Classic on the 19th March and the Handzame Classic on the 21st March in Belgium.


The Nokere Koerse – Danlith Classic is a 199km Belgian classic complete with cobbled roads and short steep “hellingen” climbs. After completing 80km in and around the Nokere countryside, riders will enter onto a 14.8km circuit that they complete 8 times. The main obstacle will come in the form of the Nokoere-Berg, a 6% gradient pave climb in the center of town that riders will go up during each lap.


The Handzame Classic will be much of the same, with 198km being raced in around the region of Handzame. The only difference being slightly fewer climbs than at the Nokere Koerse but a few more sections of cobbled roads.


Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will send a small squad of riders to these Belgian classics led by Martin Reimer. Bradley Potgieter makes a welcome return to racing after a long injury lay off while the rest of the team is completed by Songezo Jim, Johann van Zyl and Youcef Reguigui.


Michel Cornelisse will direct the team from the team car and is hoping the team can learn from its mistakes made at the Drenthe races.


“The weekend in Drenthe was not a success, the problem was that a few of our riders are battling to stay at the front of the peloton and fight for a good position. The roads are very narrow here and there is a lot of wind which is something our African guys are still getting used to. If you don’t fight from the beginning to stay at the front you have a problem. The problem certainly was not in the legs, but in more in the head and experience will help with that,” said Cornelisse.


“The same riders from Drenthe are here in Belgium and the good thing is that the team know the roads here very well, this is almost like a home race for us. If there is not too much wind the bunch won’t be so nervous and we can get a good result. We have 5 motivated riders here and with Martin Reimer we can finish top 5 if he is on a good day. We will need to race smart though and let the other teams do the work, and then if we can fight to be in the front the team can maybe do something as a unit later in the race."


Johann van Zyl also acknowledged defeat during the Drenthe races but is positive for the Nokere Koerse tomorrow.


“I got my butt kicked in Drenthe, which is never nice. As they say though, every race is an experience and I really don’t want to experience that feeling of total failure again. Tomorrow is another chance now, it is going to be windy and the final circuit is very hard but we have a chance at a result. So we will stick together and ride as a unit for the entire race in order to get that result,” Van Zyl concluded.


Nokere Koerse – Danlith Classic (19 March/UCI 1.1) – (Belgium) and Handzame Classic (21 March/UCI 1.1) – (Belgium)

Martin Reimer (GER)
Johann van Zyl (RSA)
Bradley Potgieter (RSA)
Songezo Jim (RSA)
Youcef Reguigui (ALG)



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