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“Just like in Tirreno-Adriatico Jurgen Van den Broeck aims for a top ten spot in GC. That way he wins WorldTour points. In the mountains will have the support of Bart De Clercq, Sander Armée and Louis Vervaeke."

Photo: Lotto Soudal

BART DE CLERCQ

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BORIS VALLÉE

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GREGORY HENDERSON

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JURGEN VAN DEN BROECK

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LOTTO SOUDAL

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LOUIS VERVAEKE

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SANDER ARMEE

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THOMAS DE GENDT

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TOSH VAN DER SANDE

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VOLTA A CATALUNYA

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20.03.2015 @ 07:00 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The Volta Ciclista a Catalunya is the next scheduled stage race at WorldTour level. From Monday 23rd March until Sunday 29th March the peloton will ride over the Spanish hilly roads. Joaquim Rodríguez took the victory last year.

 

The first stage with start and finish in Calella is treacherous with a climb of the first, second and third category. The third category climb is the Alt de Collsacreu. The climb is situated at eighteen kilometres from the finish line and can cause a possible decimation. The second stage contains two third category climbs. Although the final is a lot tougher. The final 25 kilometres are uphill. Stage three is the first important day for the climbers. Two climbs of the first category, one of the second category and two climbs of the third category will be the setting of this 159 kilometres long stage. The finish line is drawn after a descent of thirteen kilometres.

 

 

There is no room for rest on the fourth stage, it is the queen stage. The riders will strive for the win at La Molina, a first category climb. Earlier in the stage the peloton also has to cover two first category climbs and a climb hors category. The stage on Friday contains only one second category climb. Nevertheless it will be hard for the sprinters because the top of the Alt de Lilla is only ten kilometres away from the finish line. The fast riders do get their chance in the sixth stage, in Port Aventura. Halfway the stage there is a first category climb and at 36.5 kilometres from the finish there is a third category climb.  The closing stage on Sunday will guide the riders through Barcelona. At the end of this stage there are eight local laps waiting for the riders. The winner of the overall standings will be known Sunday.

 

One of the eight riders in the Lotto Soudal selection is Louis Vervaeke. In February the 21-year-old Belgian had to abandon the Ruta del Sol because of a crash. Yesterday he rode Nokere Koerse, his first race in a month.

 

“I had a mild concussion after I crashed in the Ruta del Sol," he said. "The team doctor immediately said I should abandon the race. I was really disappointed because it was a race I had looked forward to and had trained for.

 

"For a whole week long I still had headaches. Then I started training again. The first week I trained in Belgium, twice in the Ardennes, then I went to Alora to prepare for the Volta a Catalunya. I trained a lot in the mountains. The trainings I did were really intensive because I had to cover a month without competition.”

 

 

“I have a good feeling after Nokere Koerse, my first race in a month. The first hour and a half I tried to escape. Eventually I didn’t get in the breakaway, the riders of our team didn’t get much space. In the final I took the teammates to a good position with five kilometres to go.  It was great the team won and I am pleased with my own performance. This weekend I’ll leave for the Volta a Catalunya. I don’t know the area, but the course seems pretty tough. This race should suit me.”

 

Sports director Mario Aerts talks about the ambitions of the team.

 

“Just like in Tirreno-Adriatico Jurgen Van den Broeck aims for a top ten spot in GC. That way he wins WorldTour points. In the mountains will have the support of Bart De Clercq, Sander Armée and Louis Vervaeke. Apart from a good result in the overall classification we hope to get a stage win as well," he said.

 

“There is no time trial in Catalunya. That can be an advantage for Jurgen. In the previous editions the time differences were always rather small at the end of the race. There is a summit finish at La Molina, just like last year. It’s the only summit finish this year, but the time gaps weren’t too big in 2014. Hopefully Jurgen doesn’t lose any seconds on the other days.

 

“With Boris Vallée, Tosh Van der Sande and Greg Henderson we have three fast men in our selection. We rely on Tosh to sprint in the stages with a hill a few kilometres before the finish. In the stages that are more flat Boris Vallée can have a go as well. Greg Henderson is the perfect pilot.

 

"Finally we have Thomas De Gendt in the team, who is in a really good shape. He gets a free role, like in Paris-Nice. Thomas can try to win a stage. He already did that two years ago in the final stage."

 

Selection:

Sander Armée, Bart De Clercq, Thomas De Gendt, Greg Henderson, Boris Vallée, Jurgen Van den Broeck, Tosh Van der Sande and Louis Vervaeke.

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