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Paolini and Kristoff lead Katusha in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Kristoff targets the bunch sprint in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, and Tsatevich hopes to defend his title in Le Samyn

Photo: Katusha / Tim de Waele

ALEXANDER KRISTOFF

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ALEXEI TSATEVICH

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ANTON VOROBYEV

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DMITRIY KOZONTCHUK

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GATIS SMUKULIS

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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KUURNE-BRUXELLES-KUURNE

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LUCA PAOLINI

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OMLOOP HET NIEUWSBLAD

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RUDIGER SELIG

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VLADIMIR ISAICHEV

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28.02.2014 @ 12:13 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

One year ago Katusha had a perfect start to their Belgian campaign when Luca Paolini won the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Alexey Tsatevich triumphed in Le Samyn. This weekend the Russian team is back in Belgium for the first time this year and both defending champions are ready to try to make it two in a row.

 

Katusha may never have been the most prolific team in the cobbled classics but last year the early part of the Belgian racing season completely belonged to the Russian team. With Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne being cancelled due to bad weather, the team won the first two races on Belgian soil when Luca Paolini triumphed in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Alexey Tsatevich jumped clear on the uphill finishing straight to win Le Samyn.

 

This year Katusha is back for more and line up highly competitive teams for the first three races in Belgium.

 

It all kicks off on Saturday with the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad where Paolini will be back to defend his title. The Italian has had a low-key start to his season, most recently preparing sprints for Alexander Porsev in the Dubai Tour but the scenario was the same 12 months ago when he went away with the win. This year he will be part of a formidable duo that also includes Alexander Kristoff who recently won a stage of the Tour of Oman and has excelled in the cobbled classics in the past.

 

Tsatevich will also try to continue his progress in the hard races in Belgium while the team is completed by sprinter Rudiger Selig and hard men Aliaksandr Kuschynski, Viatcheslav Kuznetsov, Vladimir Isaychev, and Gatis Smukulis.

 

One day later, it is time for the Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne which usually ends in a bunch sprint. Paolini will travel home to Italy and leave his spot on the roster to former U23 world champion Anton Vorobyev as the team looks to set up Kristoff for a sprint win.

 

On Wednesday, it is time for the first race on Wallonian soil in Le Samyn which often comes down to a sprint on the uphill finishing straight. The team will be led by defending champion Tsatevich who will only have six teammates at his disposal. Kristoff and Kuschyncki won't be present and will be replaced by Dmitry Kozontchuk.

 

You can read our preview of the Omloop here.

 

Katusha Team’s roster for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Elite: Alexander Kristoff, Luca Paolini, Aliaksandr Kuchynski, Viacheslav Kuznetsov, Vladimir Isaychev, Gatis Smukulis, Rudiger Selig, Alexey Tsatevich.

 

Katusha Team’s roster for Kuurne – Bruxelles – Kuurne: Alexander Kristoff, Aliaksandr Kuchynski, Viacheslav Kuznetsov, Vladimir Isaychev, Gatis Smukulis, Rudiger Selig, Alexey Tsatevich and Anton Vorobyev.

 

Katusha Team’s roster for Le Samyn: Viacheslav Kuznetsov, Vladimir Isaychev, Gatis Smukulis, Rudiger Selig, Alexey Tsatevich, Anton Vorobyev and Dmitriy Kozonchuk.

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