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“We are down to just six riders here in De Panne so support will be a bit limited, but we are focused on our goal of supporting Maciej Bodnar is targeting the overall."

Photo: Sirotti










28.03.2016 @ 21:58 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After the cobblestone classics got underway in earnest last week with E3 Harelbeke, followed by a victorious Gent – Wevelgem, at which UCI World Champion Peter Sagan finally took his first win in the rainbow stripes, the Flandrian racing continues this week with the 40th Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde. Tinkoff line up at this three day, four stage race with just six riders led by Maciej Bodnar who will be looking to put his time trial capabilities to good use on the final day’s closing stage.


In 2014, Bodnarwas victorious on the third day’s time trial at this race, while he also finished third overall in 2012, so the Polish time trial specialist knows what it takes to perform well here.


Joining him is Pavel Brutt, off the back of a very offensive Gent – Wevelgem, as well as the young trio of Michael Kolar, Juraj Sagan and Erik Baška. The team is then completed by Nikolay Trusov who has several race days in Belgium already in his legs this season.


“We are down to just six riders here in De Panne so support will be a bit limited, but we are focused on our goal of supporting Maciej Bodnar is targeting the overall,” explained Sport Director Tristan Hoffman. “With less riders than other teams we will have to gamble a bit as well as making sure than when the splits happen, Maciej is there.


“The main goal is the overall, and then with the other stages we will look at taking our opportunities where they present themselves. It will be a good opportunity for the younger guys to continue learning about how to race in Belgium, and if there are sprint opportunities then we can look at helping Erik Baška towards a result.”


With Peter Sagan leading Tinkoff at the major classics, the team always has a focused goal when in Flanders – so a race such as Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde presents the younger riders with less experience of racing in these conditions a chance to develop in this unique type of racing. Small roads, twisty parcours, crosswinds and bergs – you always have to be on your guard in Flanders and the racing definitely helps develop you as a rider.



With Sagan taking victory at Sunday’s Gent – Wevelgem, the riders can take impetus from this performance to motivate them this week. With four stages to contend with, each offering something slightly different, there’s chances for the team to get results and make the racing throughout.



Looking at the race profile, Hoffman adds: “The opening day has some serious climbing and will be a difficult stage. Positioning will be very important and with just six guys we’ll need to conserve energy where we can but stay near the front looking after Bodnar.


“Stage two could be broken by crosswinds so again riding as a team will again be key there if we’re to get Bodnar into a good position going into the final day where he is very motivated and focused on the time trial. He won it a few years ago and hopefully he can finish the race on a strong note again this week.”



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