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"We had a lot of bad luck but now we enter a new phase of races with new riders and new chances," team manager Marc Sergeant said on the eve of Amstel Gold Race.

Photo: Sirotti












20.04.2014 @ 09:45 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Lotto-Belisol was arguably the most unfortunate team in recently concluded campaign on cobbles, with no less than half of their classics unit being pulled out of competition due to injuries sustained in crashes. Slightly encouraged by a promising result obtained in the Brabantse Pijl last Wednesday, Belgian squad hope to leave the bad luck behind and return to their winning ways in Ardennes hilly races.


Lotto-Belisol enjoyed a perfect beginning of 2014, courtesy of Andre Greipel dominating sprints in early season’s events, but the Belgian team failed to win a single race since one month as their rosters have been consequently reduced following unfortunate crashes.


Jelle Vanendert and Jurgen van Den Broeck crashed out of the Tour de San Luis and Tirreno-Adriatico respectively, but the hell broke loose during the cobbled classics campaign, with all their leaders suffering accident in the races where they were expected to contend for a victories.


"We had a lot of bad luck but now we enter a new phase of races with new riders and new chances," team manager Marc Sergeant told Cyclingnews on the eve of Amstel.


"It started in Argentina when we lost Jelle Vanendert then we had Jurgen Van Den Broeck go down in Tirreno-Adriatico and open up his knee again. The most important was André Greipel who crashed in Gent-Wevelgem because he could have won that race.


"Then Jurgen Roetlands crashed in Flanders. It's a long list and it's always been the top riders. Tony Gallopin, he also crashed twice as well but he survived and was third in Brabançonne despite having a puncture with 5km to go. That gives us a bit of hope."


Things will be looking a little brighter for the Belgian squad when the Ardennes campaign kicks off in the Netherlands today, since Tony Gallopin managed to bounce back with a promising fifth place at the Brabantse Pijl earlier this week, while Van den Broeck returns to competition following his recovery period.


"From the riders we have Gallopin is the fastest and if he can make the lead group then I think he can end up with a top five in Amstel. The others in Vanendert and Van den Broeck, Wellens, we have a few good ones, they have to win alone."


Earlier this weeks Van den Broeck told Sporza that he agrees to ride in the support of Gallopin in Ardennes classics, nonetheless he still hopes for some respectable results as he usually performed well in the hilly one-day races.


“I still think Van den Broeck still isn't 100 per cent," Sergeant added. "I think Vanendert is pretty close to it but Wellens was sick so he might not be up there in Amstel but I hope he can be a factor in Fleche."



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