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“I think the complete peloton was able to train well this winter because of the mild weather conditions. Some riders already did two or three races. For me, it’s not going to be easy to start this late, but at the moment I feel...

Photo: Belkin Pro Cycling Team

JONATHAN HIVERT

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LAURENS TEN DAM

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MARTIJN KEIZER

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NICK VAN DER LIJKE

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PAUL MARTENS

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STEF CLEMENT

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TEAM JUMBO-VISMA

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27.02.2014 @ 13:22 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

While the team's classics riders will be riding hard on the Belgian cobbles, another Belkin contingent will be heading to France for a pair of hard one-day races. After having recovered from a lingering knee injury, Paul Martens returns to competition while Jonathan Hivert looks to excel on home soil in races that suit him perfectly.

 

The Belkin Pro Cycling Team will be hunting for victories in upcoming weekend’s Classic Sud Ardèche and Drôme Classic. The team will travel to France with riders who all know their way around the hilly terrain. 

“We’re facing two tough races,” said Sports Director Erik Dekker. “The parcours’ are heavy, but not heavy enough for the real climbers. Our complete team knows how to cope with that. The ambition is to fight for the win and to improve. Those two are very combinable.” 

 

The Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM includes newcomer Martijn Keizer, Marc Goos (broken wrist) and Paul Martens (knee), who are both returning from injuries. For the latter, the races in southern France are his first of the year. The German is happy to finally race after a long winter. 

“I was practically side-lined for two months,” said Martens who missed the Volta ao Algarve because of his knee. “It was a lingering injury, but the pain was never big enough to do nothing for a long period. I think, eventually, I missed fifty to sixty training hours. At the training camps I trained on my own, but it was nice to be with the team. As a professional it feels wrong to be at home all the time in the run-up to the season.” 

 

Martens has modest personal ambitions for the Classic Sud Ardèche and the Drôme Classic.

 

“I think the complete peloton was able to train well this winter because of the mild weather conditions. Some riders already did two or three races. For me, it’s not going to be easy to start this late, but at the moment I feel very good, although I just hope I can stay pain free.” 

Martens still has good hopes for the big spring races.

 

“When you look at the classics, it’s not bad at all that I will start my season a little later. Some riders started racing in January and for them it will be hard to stay at the top of their game until April.” 

 

The team will be likely to focus on Jonathan Hivert who is racing on home soil and who both has the climbing legs and sprinting power to excel in this kind of race.
 

Belkin for the Classic du Sud-Ardeche and the Drome Classic:

Stef Clement, Laurens ten Dam, Marc Goos, Jonathan Hivert, Martijn Keizer, Nick van der Lijke and Paul Martens. 

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