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"After a winter of training and a month of preparation races, it's the first time to really test yourself on the cobbles. Everybody would like to kick off their classics campaign with a good result."

Photo: MTN Qhubeka

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EDVALD BOASSON HAGEN

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GERALD CIOLEK

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JACOBUS JOHANNES VENTER

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JAY ROBERT THOMSON

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KUURNE-BRUXELLES-KUURNE

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MATTHEW BRAMMEIER

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OMLOOP HET NIEUWSBLAD

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REINARDT JANSE VAN RENSBURG

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TYLER FARRAR

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26.02.2015 @ 19:09 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

This weekend will see the start of the cobbled spring classics when the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and the Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne take place on Saturday and Sunday respectively. Both of these Belgian classics, just like all the others, are renowned for their harsh racing conditions: cold wet weather, wind, small roads, cobbled climbs and a big bunch. The racing is expected to be intense and unforgiving, a spectator's dream. 


The Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung riders are up for the challenge this weekend as a successful spring classics campaign is one of the team's definite season goals. A positive start this weekend will set the team up nicely for the slightly more arduous classics to come.


Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will have 9 riders on hand this weekend with the final rosters for each race being determined closer to the race start. Edvald Boasson Hagen, Gerald Ciolek, Tyler Farrar, Theo Bos, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Kristian Sbaragli, Youcef Reguigui, Jay Thomson, Jaco Venter and Matt Brammeier are the riders hoping to show their hand at least one of the weekend’s races.


The Omloop Het Nieuwsblad will see riders tackle 200km which will include 11 Hellingen climbs, 5 of which are cobbled, and 10 separate cobbled sectors making the race a true test for the classics specialists. The Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne is 197km and lends its self slightly more to a strong sprinter with only 9 Hellingen climbs on the menu.


"These races are known as the "opening weekend" among the riders," van Rensburg said. "It is the official opening of the classics season and it offers our first opportunity to test ourselves and to prepare for the bigger classics later. A good showing here can set you up for a good classics season."

 

"The opening weekend is always something special," Farrar said. "After a winter of training and a month of preparation races, it's the first time to really test yourself on the cobbles. Everybody would like to kick off their classics campaign with a good result. After a month of waiting for the classics the Belgian fans will go crazy, which makes it pretty cool."

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