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"For Jurgen Van den Broeck the Vuelta is partly a preparation for the World Championships time trial. He doesn’t’ specifically aim for a good place on GC."

Photo: Lotto Soudal

ADAM HANSEN

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BART DE CLERCQ

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JASPER DE BUYST

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JELLE VANENDERT

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JURGEN VAN DEN BROECK

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KRIS BOECKMANS

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LOTTO SOUDAL

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MAXIME MONFORT

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THOMAS DE GENDT

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TOSH VAN DER SANDE

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VUELTA A ESPAÑA

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17.08.2015 @ 14:27 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The nine Lotto Soudal riders can’t wait to start the 70th Vuelta a España on Saturday. The first stage is a team time trial of 7.4 kilometres along the coast, from Puerto Banús to Marbella. Then there are twenty stages which take the riders through Andalusia first, via the east coast it goes to the north with a visit to Andorra. Then the caravan heads to Asturias. The last five stages the Vuelta heads towards the capital of the country, the last stage finishes in Madrid.

 

Considering the tough course there are many climbers in the team, Bart De Clercq and Maxime Monfort aim for a good overall classification. Kris Boeckmans can take his chance in the sprints.

 

Sports director Mario Aerts tells more about the ambitions of Lotto Soudal.

 

“Kris Boeckmans is the sprinter in our team," he said. "He’ll have to compete against among others Nacer Bouhanni, John Degenkolb and Matteo Pelucchi. Kris has demonstrated his fast legs already several times this year and his eight victories have given him confidence. ‘Boeckie’ definitely has a chance to win during this Vuelta. Of four stages it’s almost certain they will end with a bunch sprint: the third, the fifth, the twelfth and last stage. The best scenario would be that the sprinters can battle for the victory in the eighth, tenth and thirteenth stage as well.

 

“Jasper De Buyst will be the lead-out man for Kris. He wanted to ride a Grand Tour before the Olympic Games in Rio next year and this perfectly fits into his programme. I think the Vuelta is a bit easier to make a Grand Tour début. 

 

"Tosh Van der Sande needs to make sure that Jasper and Kris enter the last kilometres in a good position to start the sprint. In the tougher stages Tosh can take the climbers to the front. Tosh is a very good pilot and will definitely be able to use this quality on several occasions. In the last week there are some stages in which a breakaway might make it to the finish and then Tosh can definitely attack in the beginning of the day. He is fast and that can be useful as well. Tosh is very versatile.

 

“There are stages for sprinters, climbers and escapees. As we know Thomas De Gendt he will again be motivated to join breakaways. There will be sufficient opportunities to get away, especially the last week looks good for the adventurers. That means the eighteenth stage, the nineteenth stage to Ávila and the penultimate stage with four climbs of the first category. The escapees could be successful in these stages because it aren’t the toughest stages where the GC riders will fight. On top of that everyone is already tired at that moment and then a breakaway has a big chance to survive.

 

“Also Adam Hansen is a man who can join an early breakaway. But he can score with a late jump as well. He will definitely have studied the route, last year he had marked the stage he won as well. So Adam can aim for a stage win of his own, but apart from that he will also support the GC riders in the mountains and he can take the sprinters to the front. He’s a valuable rider in the team. It’s not easy what he does, all those Grand Tours in a row, nothing can go wrong. That almost happened in the Tour, but he has such a strong character that he accomplished that as well.

 

“The first part of the Vuelta takes place in the south of Spain, so that means the high temperatures will be a crucial factor. In the first week there are  a few opportunities for Jelle Vanendert. There are some tough finishes with steep parts, perfect for punchers. The second, fourth and sixth stage are really something for Jelle, who already proved his skills in the Amstel Gold Race and Flèche Wallonne. Later in the Vuelta, Jelle can of course have a go on the longer climbs, which he’s good at as well, just think about his victory on Plateau de Beille in the Tour of 2011.

 

“There are nine uphill finishes in this Vuelta. The toughest stages are in between the two rest days. The eleventh stage in Andorra, just after the first rest day, is immensely hard. It’s a short stage of 138 kilometres with six climbs and 5200 altitude metres. That will definitely be the hardest day. Before the second rest day there are three tough stages in a row: the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth stage. Together with the individual time trial of 38.7 kilometres in Burgos after the second rest day these stages will determine the overall classification. Afterwards I don’t expect too many changes.

 

"Last year there were more extreme climbs on the route, now it seems that’s not the case, although you always get surprises in the Vuelta. Now there is only one very extreme climb in the sixteenth stage to Ermita de Alba, a climb with gradients above twenty per cent!

 

“For Jurgen Van den Broeck the Vuelta is partly a preparation for the World Championships time trial. He doesn’t’ specifically aim for a good place on GC. It’s better for Jurgen when a stage contains many climbs, so the stage in Andorra is perfect. It would be great if he could win a stage in a Grand Tour.

 

“In our team Bart De Clercq and Maxime Monfort are the GC riders. Bart De Clercq won a stage at the Tour de Pologne and showed his good condition there. If there is an opportunity to win a stage, like in Poland, all the better, but he focuses on GC.

 

"Maxime Monfort is in good shape as well, I saw that in Poland. When Bart had the leader’s jersey, Maxime did lots of work for him. He and Bart both aim for a top ten place. The competition is hard, but they have the qualities to finish in top ten and that may certainly be the goal.”

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