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“It will be a very exciting race, but impossible to predict. Championships are always difficult to plan. We'll see what the other team do during the race, and a lot depends on how many domestiques a rider like Kittel will have.&rd...

Photo: © Team Stölting Service Group / Mario Stiehl

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21.06.2016 @ 13:48 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

This week is defined by the various national championships. Stölting will be active in several countries.

 

Time trial championships

Sölting start off on Thursday with the time trial champs in Denmark and France, in Germany and Luxembourg they are held on Friday.

In Denmark, the course starts in Vordingborg in the south of the island of Zealand, heading east close to the coast, then taking a more inland route back to the city where the clock stops after 43 km. Team Stölting Service Group fields Rasmus Guldhammer, Lasse Norman Hansen, Mads Pedersen, and Rasmus Quaade.

Mads Pedersen wants to improve on his 11th place from last year: “I'm going for the top-10,” he says. “There are many fast guys at the start, and I'll have to catch a good day to reach that. But my condition is good, we've found a perfect time trialing position, so I believe I can make it.”

Rasmus Quaade is aiming for more: He won the title in 2011 and 2014 already, 2013 and 2015 he was runner-up. He says: “After my crash at Fyen Rundt, I had a couple of days with really bad legs. But I could train normally, and I'm doing well again these last couple of days. I want to win the jersey, no doubt about that – but I know that it may never have been as hard as this year. It will be a really, really tough fight.”

Romain Lemarchand is riding the French championships in Vesoul. The 49.3 km course isn't all flat, with two climbs of around 2 km each on the first 15 km. Lemarchand says: “After that, it's flat or false-flat, something for a strong rider. Chavanel is my favourite, he was very strong at the Route du Sud; and there's the defending champion Coppel too. I'm hoping for a spot in the top-10 like in 2012, but I don't have any pressure and would like to enjoy the race.”

The German time trial championships are held in Streufdorf in Thuringia. The course is quite challenging at 41 km with several hills and will be tackled by Jonas Tenbrock and former junior world champion Lennard Kämna. For Kämna, the race is a perfect opportunity to measure himself against the strongest German time trialists, several of whom are among the best in the world, and take further steps in his development.

Sports Director Jochen Hahn comments: “Lennard hasn't done a long time trial all year, so we don't really know where he is at over this distance. It's a very open race for him, we'll just wait and see.”

The Luxembourg time trial championships in Berbourg are only 15 km. Alex Kirsch is the team's only starter; he says: “I've looked into the time trial a lot. The length suits me well, it's similar to the one in the Tour of Denmark in a month's time. Bob Jungels is strong competition, but I'll be able to test myself against him and see just how big the difference is.”

DENMARK
23/06/2016, Vordingborg, 43 km

RIDERS
Rasmus Guldhammer (DEN)
Lasse Norman Hansen (DEN)
Mads Pedersen (DEN)
Rasmus Quaade (DEN)


FRANCE
23/06/2016, Vesoul, 49.3 km

RIDER
Romain Lemarchand (FRA)

GERMANY
24/06/2016, Streufdorf, 41 km

RIDERS
Lennard Kämna (GER)
Jonas Tenbrock (GER)

LUXEMBOURG
24/06/2016, Berbourg, 15 km

RIDER
Alex Kirsch (LUX)


German Road Race Championships
The German road race championships take place in Erfurt on Sunday. Fourteen laps of a 15.4 km circuit in the centre of the Thuringian capital make for a 215.6 km race. There are no serious uphills on the circuit, but a championship race with teams of different sizes is never easy to predict.

Team Stölting Service Group starts will all its eight German riders: Gerald Ciolek, Linus Gerdemann, Lennard Kämna, Thomas Koep, Christian Mager, Sven Reutter, Jonas Tenbrock, and Fabian Wegmann all look forward to the team's first German championship race. Gerald Ciolek and Fabian Wegmann have both won the champion's jersey in the past, with Ciolek sprinting to victory in 2005. With three titles in 2007, 2008, and 2012, Wegmann is one of six record holders.

But the experienced German is nonchalant about the opportunity to become the sole record holder: “It's always a race that suits me well, definitely, but a flat course like this …” Wegmann says. “Well, basically I always get a good result at the German championships. I like racing on a circuit, and I'm motivated. I haven't seen the circuit yet, we'll do that on Saturday and then decide which tactics we'll use in the race.”

Sports Director Jochen Hahn says: “It will be a very exciting race, but impossible to predict. Championships are always difficult to plan. We'll see what the other team do during the race, and a lot depends on how many domestiques a rider like Kittel will have.”

Wegmann agrees: “We have a sprinter in Gerald whom we could support for a result – or we could try to make it a fast and hard race. In 2009, the course in Cottbus was completely flat, and we still finished in ones and twos. We have several options, but if Kittel and Greipel make it to the finishing straight, it will be hard even for Gerald.  The question will be how many helpers they will have, so it would be a good idea to make it a hard race and challenge them.”

RIDERS
Gerald Ciolek (GER)
Linus Gerdemann (GER)
Lennard Kämna (GER)
Thomas Koep (GER)
Christian Mager (GER)
Sven Reutter (GER)
Jonas Tenbrock (GER)
Fabian Wegmann (GER)
 

Other race championships

The road race championships in Denmark and Luxembourg are also held on Sunday.

In Vordingborg, Denmark, the course covers 201.5 km, consisting of nine laps of a 17.1 km circuit followed by four laps on an 11.9 km circuit. The finish is slightly uphill, and the circuits include few flat stretches – it is a continuous up-and-down. Being so close to the sea, the wind may also play a role.

With seven riders, Team Stölting Service Group sends the biggest squad of all professional teams: Michael Carbel, Rasmus Guldhammer, Alexander Kamp, Lasse Norman Hansen, Mads Pedersen, Rasmus Quaade, and Michael Reihs are certain to play a big role in the race. Carbel, Kamp, and Reihs have all stood on the podium, but none of them were able to win the race in past years. All the riders are in good shape and want to make it a hard race together.

“I think that the race will be a good one, and we're going for the win,” says Alexander Kamp. “The Continental teams will try to use their numbers, and Søren Kragh Andersen has done very well at the Ster ZLM Tour. To me, he's the favourite, even without any teammates. But it's a championship, and those hardly ever go to plan.”

“Our goal is to win the jersey,” agrees Rasmus Quaade. “And I would say that all seven of us can win on a good day. We have a very, very good Sports Director who will guide us well, and our team has lots of good riders. The Continental teams may not have the same strength in depth. It will be a hard race with Continental teams fielding many riders, and pros that have no teammates, but are very strong on their own.”

Mads Pedersen, too, is convinced of the team's abilities: “We have a strong team and ride together well, we simply have to read the race correctly and ride accordingly. There will probably be a break, then things depend on who is and isn't up there, and whether the break is caught or riders bridge up to them. You never know what will happen, and the weather plays a role as well. We have lots of cards to play, that's our advantage.”

Like the time trial, the Luxembourg road race championships are held in Berbourg. A 17 km circuit has to be raced eight times, meaning that the race is only 136 km in total.

The only Luxembourger in the team, Alex Kirsch, says: “The course suits me well with several short climbs. Unfortunately I was sick for a couple of days last week, and today I was knocked off my bike. I'm fine myself, but the bike is a write-off. So things aren't exactly going to plan. But I'm very motivated, two weeks ago I was in great shape, and I won't have lost all of that. The championships are always a special race with only a handful of pros who are all very strong. We race together with the amateurs, so there is a peloton, but one with lots of conflicting interests. It will be a tactical race, and this year the shortness will make it even less predictable.”

DENMARK
26/06/2016, Vordingborg, 201.5 km

 

RIDERS
Michael Carbel (DEN)
Rasmus Guldhammer (DEN)
Alexander Kamp (DEN)
Lasse Norman Hansen (DEN)
Mads Pedersen (DEN)
Rasmus Quaade (DEN)
Michael Reihs (DEN)

LUXEMBOURG
26/06/2016, Berbourg, 136 km

RIDER
Alex Kirsch (LUX)

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