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"I hope the Tirreno can mean a change that shows I can battle along, but we have to wait and see. In Oman I could ride uphill with the ten best riders, but when the race exploded I had to pass and I lost terrain. I hope to set that ste...

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ADAM HANSEN

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ANDRÉ GREIPEL

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BART DE CLERCQ

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FREDERIK WILLEMS

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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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MARCEL SIEBERG

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TIRRENO - ADRIATICO

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12.03.2014 @ 12:10 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Having come back from his horrific crash at last year's Tour de France, Jurgen Van Den Broeck is ready for his first big test of the season when he lines up at the Tirreno-Adriatico later today. The Belgian is curious to compare his condition with the best climbers in the world and hopes to gradually improve as he gets more racing under his belt.

 

Whilst a part of the peloton is already striving three days in France, where Paris-Nice is being contested, another part starts tomorrow in Tirreno-Adriatico. The seven days WorldTour stage race brings the riders from the west of Italy, at the Tyrrhenian Sea, to the Adriatic Sea in the east.
 
The Race of the Two Seas once again kicks off with a team time trial. This one is 18.5 km long and heads from Donoratico to San Vincenzo, in opposite direction compared to last year.
 
While Paris-Nice has banned any time trial kilometers for this year, the Italian Tirreno-Adriatico has also scheduled an individual time trial on the final day. Just like last year, start and finish take place in San Benedetto del Tronto. The flat time trial is 9.1 km long.
 
In the fourth and fifth stage the riders will have some serious amount of climbing to do. The difficulty in the fourth stage, with its length of 244 km the longest of them all, is located in the second half of it. After the Forca di Cerro and the Forca Capistrello, the peloton has to cover the final climb that leads to the ski station Selva Rotonda, in Cittareale.
 
The next stage is a craggy one, however the stage only counts two official climbs. First of all there's the Passo Lanciano, followed by a 16.4 km descent. The stage ends with the Muro di Guardiagrele. That road is also known as the steepest of Italy. The climb is 610 meters long and has an average gradient of 22.2%, with a maximal ramp of 30%! After a short plateau there is a tough last section, with a maximal gradient of 12%.
 
But also the sprinters will have their chances in this year's Tirreno-Adriatico. The second, third and sixth stages are most likely to end with a bunch sprint.
 
The varied stages are reflected in a varied selection of Lotto Belisol. André Greipel will be the sprinter for the team. Jurgen Van den Broeck will make his début in Tirreno-Adriatico. Climber Bart De Clercq also forms a part of the selection.
 
The list of top riders includes also Alberto Contador, Cadel Evans, Michal Kwiatkowski, Bauke Mollema, Richie Porte, Nairo Quintana, Michele Scarponi, Andrew Talansky, Rigoberto Uran and Bradley Wiggins. Amongst Greipels competitors for the sprints we find Mark Cavendish, Gerald Ciolek, Arnaud Démare, Marcel Kittel and Peter Sagan.
 
"I'm curious to see if I will be able to battle for GC, that would please me a lot," Van Den Broeck said. "Tirreno-Adriatico is a WorldTour stage race where you can earn points.
 
"In my previous races in Argentina, Spain and Oman it became clear that there is a big difference between a good condition, which you can improve on training, and competition rhythm, which only comes with racing. In Argentina, the first race after my injury, that became very clear. In Mallorca I was able to ride without any pressure and after the Tour of Oman I had a tough training week in which I simulated race circumstances to continue my growth.
 
"I can be happy that despite the fact that I had a severe injury, my rehab went smoothly. I didn't get behind schedule at any time, we never had to cut back and there were no hick-ups that slowed down the rehab process. Normally I don't have that many race days this time of the season, and the last years I didn't ride Paris-Nice or Tirreno-Adriatico, but I need this.
 
"I hope the Tirreno can mean a change that shows I can battle along, but we have to wait and see. In Oman I could ride uphill with the ten best riders, but when the race exploded I had to pass and I lost terrain. I hope to set that step now."
 
"I don't want to compare with competitors at this point, it's mainly about the personal feeling. Only when that's optimal you can look at the others.
 
"After the Tirreno-Adriatico it will soon be time for the Volta a Catalunya, then I will know where I stand. In April it's the Vuelta al País Vasco and I have the ambition to be good in the Walloon classics. I might not have the profile of a rider for one day races, and definitely not that of a winner, but I have always loved those races and want to perform very good this year."
 
Selection Lotto Belisol: Bart De Clercq, Jens Debusschere, André Greipel, Adam Hansen, Jürgen Roelandts, Marcel Sieberg, Jurgen Van den Broeck and Frederik Willems.
 
You can read our preview of the race here and of the first stage here.

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