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"Myself and Martin Reimer both crashed pretty hard at Gent-Wevelgem so we will see how we pull up the next couple of days but my confidence is growing and I’ll definitely have a go and see what I can do," Thomson says

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DRIEDAAGSE BRUGGE-DE PANNE

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GERALD CIOLEK

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IGNATAS KONOVALOVAS

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JAY ROBERT THOMSON

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MARTIN REIMER

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NTT PRO CYCLING TEAM

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01.04.2014 @ 13:52 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

With the Ronde van Vlaanderen coming up on Sunday, MTN Qhubeka have chosen to rest their star Gerald Ciolek. The German won't be at the start in this week's Three Days of De Panne which starts today, and instead the team will line up an almost all-African roster.

 

After a very busy opening week for Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung at the Belgian classics, racing continues when the team start the 3 Days of De Panne on Tuesday. The 3 day, 4 stage Belgian tour is a prestigious race that sets the tone for another big week of Belgian racing with the Ronde van Vlaanderen also being on Sunday.

 

3 Days of De Panne always attracts a stellar field as riders look to be in peak condition ahead of the weekends Belgian monument by using the ‘DDDP’ to sharpen the race legs. Riders like Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma – QuickStep) will be on the start line, thus highlighting the calibre of rider on display.

 

After a tough opening week of spring classics with numerous crashes, Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will rest riders like Gerald Ciolek and Ignatas Konovalovas for DDDP, allowing an almost full compliment of African riders the chance to start the Belgian tour. Martin Reimer and Jay Thomson headline the team with support from Ferekalsi Debesay, Bradley Potgieter, Youcef Reguigui, Songezo Jim, Johann van Zyl and Dennis van Niekerk.

 

“De Panne is another interesting Belgium race where the wind and position play a massive part of the race. In previous years the GC winner normally came from the final days short afternoon TT," Thomson said. "This year I really think stage 1, with all its cobbles and climbs, will be super important if you want a chance at the GC. If its anything like the last couple of races its going to be crazy but I believe with the riders we have here we have a chance at getting a decent result.

 

"Myself and Martin Reimer both crashed pretty hard at Gent-Wevelgem so we will see how we pull up the next couple of days but my confidence is growing and I’ll definitely have a go and see what I can do. Its one of those races where you have to be on it for 200km’s and I’m ready. Also, its great prep for Tour of Flanders.”

 

“This is a race where the boys must take their chance," sports director Michel Cornelisse said. "Tomorrow can be very interesting especially to be in the break , that is the most important thing to do. If we ride smart we can reach the finale in a good position.

 

"It is a hard stage tomorrow, Wednesday is a normal control stage for the sprinters and we hope that Youcef can show himself there and in the short stage on Thursday.”

 

You can read our preview of the race here and follow our live coverage at 14.25 CEST on CyclingQuotes.com/live.

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