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"One can assume that all the stages in Dunkirk will be decided in a sprint. Sam is in excellent shape and is highly motivated after his victory in Cologne," Schulze says

Photo: TNE/Stiehl








06.05.2014 @ 12:53 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

With wins in the Clasica de Almerica and Rund um Köln one-day races, Sam Bennett has had an exceptional start to his professional career. The young Irishman targets more success this week when he spearheads NetApp-Endura in the 4 Days of Dunkirk.


With an absolute sprinter team, led by "Rund um Köln" winner Sam Bennett, Team NetApp – Endura will be competing for the first time in the "4 Jours de Dunkerque" race beginning on Wednesday. Although the name may suggest otherwise, the tour – starting in France's northernmost town – will be held over five, not four, stages, for a total of 893.3 kilometers. The characteristics of the five-stage race through "French Flanders" could be similar to the Belgian spring races.


"One can assume that all the stages in Dunkirk will be decided in a sprint. Sam is in excellent shape and is highly motivated after his victory in Cologne. We'll be competing for the first time in Dunkirk, and a short tour is certainly a bit different than a classic race, but on the whole we're very well prepared for the sprints. Sam has some fast riders on his side, with Blaz [Jarz], Ralf [Matzka] and Michael [Schwarzmann]. Therefore, we're betting on some good results and setting ourselves the goal of a stage win," states a confident André Schulze, the Sport Director accompanying the team to Dunkirk.


Traditionally, the start of the first stage takes place in front of Dunkirk's town hall. After that, the 162.9-km stage makes a wide arc through Watten and Cassel, where a 1.5-km cobblestone section awaits the riders. After a total of three mountain and three sprint classifications, the peloton will reach the final destination of Coudekerque-Branche in France's northernmost corner. Three final laps will have to be completed there.


The second stage goes from Hazebrouck to Orchies, covering 166.9 kilometers. Along the way, heading in a southeasterly direction, the peloton will not only pass by Mons-en-Pévèle, which is also part of Paris-Roubaix, but it will also have to travel three times over a 1.7-km cobblestone section.


The next day, the riders will race from Fruges to Calais, the short tour's longest stage with 197.6 kilometers. Although the Friday stage does not include any cobblestone sections, the final section will take the riders along the coast of the English Channel, which could make for an exciting race if the wind is strong.


The fourth stage, a long circuit, takes place on Saturday. After an initial 65 kilometers, starting in the town of Ardres, the race's outcome will be decided on a 20.6-km circuit in Licques, which has to be completed seven times. Paradoxically, the so-called Four Days of Dunkirk will not end there. On Sunday, a fifth stage will be held. It will be 177 kilometers, starting in Saint-Pol-sur-Mer and ending with nine final laps in Dunkirk.


NetApp-Endura for the 4 Days of Dunkirk:

Sam Bennett, Cesare Benedetti, Jonathan McEvoy, Blaz Jarc, Ralf Matzka, Daniel Schorn, Michael Schwarzmann, Erick Rowsell



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