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"Of course I would like to go for a top ten spot in the overall standings, it’s also the goal of the team. The route isn’t that selective."

Photo: Lotto Soudal

JELLE VANENDERT

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JENS DEBUSSCHERE

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JURGEN ROELANDTS

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JURGEN VAN DEN BROECK

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LOTTO SOUDAL

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MAXIME MONFORT

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PIM LIGTHART

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STIG BROECKX

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TIRRENO - ADRIATICO

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09.03.2015 @ 13:50 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The Italian WorldTour stage race Tirreno-Adriatico starts on Wednesday 11th March and ends on Tuesday 17th March. Last year’s winner, Alberto Contador, is one of the favourites again.

 

For the fifth year in a row, the ‘Race of the two seas’ starts with a team time trial. The teams will ride 22.7 kilometres along the coast of Lido di Camaiore. Stages two and three, with finish lines in Cascina and Arezzo, should be bunch sprints. The fourth stage contains four climbs, from which the last one tops at six kilometres from the finish line. The favourites should create the first differences there.

 

Nevertheless, the big differences will be made the day after. The queen stage on day five contains four climbs and ends at the Terminillo. It’s a sixteen kilometres long climb with an average gradient of 7.3% and sections of 12%. The next day the peloton covers rather flat roads from Rieti to the coast of Porto Sant’Elpidio. The Tirreno-Adriatico ends with a ten kilometres long individual time trial along the coast line of San Benedetto del Tronto.

 

Jurgen Van den Broeck aims for top 10

Last year Jurgen Van den Broeck had to combine his rehabilitation with his preparation for the season. This year the rider from the Kempen, had a normal off-season. Van den Broeck knows that the competition in the Tirreno is very strong, but also knows the ins and outs of the WorldTour.

 

“In races like the Ruta del Sol the results are not that important, but especially the feeling of the race is important," he said. "Because of my crash in the first stage I lost a lot of time, but I could ride relaxed in the other stages. I was three times second in the Ruta, but that wasn’t important. This is different in the Tirreno, it’s a serious test. It’s also a WorldTour race where there are a lot of points to gain and I set myself the goal to be good here for the first time in the season. It’s true that this is one of the races with the best riders at the start, but it’s not clear what their ambitions are.

 

“I have tried to work towards this race as good as possible. Before the Ruta I did a high-altitude training camp for two weeks. Afterwards I rested for three days followed by a hilly training in Spain to improve my shape. Of course I would like to go for a top ten spot in the overall standings, it’s also the goal of the team. The route isn’t that selective, but with a team time trial, a finish uphill, a finish after a descent, and a finish at the top of a small climb there are enough possibilities to make time differences.”

 

Apart from Jurgen Van den Broeck seven other Lotto Soudal riders will start in Tirreno-Adriatico as well. Sports director Bart Leysen talks about the team’s ambitions.

 

“This year, we want to win a stage but also go for a good GC," he said. "Pim Ligthart, who commenced his season very well, and Belgian champion Jens Debusschere will strive for a stage win. In normal conditions, Jens would be our leading man, but we won’t put him under too much pressure. Pim can have a go as well.

 

 

“Jens and Pim can count on the support of Jürgen Roelandts for the bunch sprints. After his flu during the Flemish opening weekend, he will resume his season here. It’s important to regain his good shape from before and to survive these seven days. The team time trial on the first day isn’t important for our sprinters. Both Jurgen Van den Broeck and Maxime Monfort will have to lead the team there. Hopefully they can set a pretty good time.

 

“With Froome [who will eventually not start, ed,], Contador, Quintana and Nibali starting it won’t be easy to go for a win in the harder stages. Although I expect Jelle Vanendert to strive for the victory in stages four and five. Jurgen Van den Broeck and Maxime Monfort are two riders who can go for a good GC. It’s important for them to lose as little time as possible in the fifth stage. In the Ruta del Sol Froome and Contandor showed that they’re almost untouchable, that goes for Nibali too. A top five spot in the overall standings would be great.”

 

Selection Lotto Soudal:

Stig Broeckx, Jens Debusschere, Pim Ligthart, Maxime Monfort, Jürgen Roelandts, Jurgen Van den Broeck, Dennis Vanendert and Jelle Vanendert.

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