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"Of course the team expects something from me. I hope we get into the final with two or three riders and animate the race. After last year I certainly aim for a podium place again," Roelandts says

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JENS DEBUSSCHERE

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JURGEN ROELANDTS

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KENNY DE HAES

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KRIS BOECKMANS

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LOTTO SOUDAL

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PIM LIGTHART

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RONDE VAN VLAANDEREN

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STIG BROECKX

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TONY GALLOPIN

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04.04.2014 @ 11:21 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

One year ago Jurgen Roelandts finished on the podium in the Tour of Flanders after riding a smart race by anticipating the race favourites and this year he will be back in a quest to repeat that effort. He lines up as the leader of a Lotto Belisol roster that can also count on the strength of co-leader Tony Gallopin.

 

Next Sunday it's the big day of the Flemish cycling season: the Tour of Flanders. The 98th edition of this WorldTour race goes over a distance of 259.1 kilometers.
 
The final was redrawn compared to last year. There is one loop less and so the Paterberg will only have to be climbed twice. The Oude Kwaremont still lies three times on the course, it's now also the first hill of the day. The Koppenberg is closer to the finish than ever.
 
Sports director Herman Frison looks ahead to the Ronde from the point of view of Lotto Belisol, together with Jürgen Roelandts – third last year – and Tony Gallopin.
 
At a quarter past ten the peloton will take off on the Markt in the centre of Bruges. Fifteen minutes later the official start will be given in Oostkamp. Than the race can really begin.
 
After a run-up of about one hundred kilometers and a first feeding zone the riders should get ready for the hill section. The Oude Kwaremont is the opening climb and will come back later as tenth and sixteenth hill. Between the first and second passage over the Oude Kwaremont lie among other the Eikenberg, Molenberg, Valkenberg and Kanarieberg. Before the Molenberg there are three cobblestone sections: Ruiterstraat (800 m), Kerkgate (2650 m) and Holleweg (350 m). After the climb the caravan heads over the cobbles of the Paddestraat (2300 m) and Haaghoek (2000 m).
 
55 kilometers before the finish in Oudenaarde there's the second ascent of the Oude Kwaremont. Immediately afterwards the riders have to get over the Paterberg, followed by the Koppenberg at 45 kilometers from the end.
 
Between this point and the absolute final the peloton has to pass the Steenbeekdries, Taaienberg and Kruisberg, but first the cobbles of the Mariaborrestraat (2000 m) are waiting for the riders.
 
Finally there is the duo Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg as ultimate breaking point. After the Paterberg there are thirteen flat kilometers left towards the finish line in Oudenaarde where the winner of the Tour of Flanders can celebrate.
 
"Today we did a recon of 125 kilometers, from the foot of the Eikenberg to the finish," sports director Herman Frison said. "Some of the guys did an extra training afterwards.
 
"It doesn't yield anything to look back and keep thinking about the bad luck we have had, the focus is on Sunday now. Indeed we have had to call for some replacements, among them neo-pro Stig Broeckx who makes his début in the Ronde, but we have faith in our team for one hundred per cent.
 
"Jürgen Roelandts and Tony Gallopin, our two leaders, are ready. Last year Jürgen has already shown how it has to be and now we're ready again to achieve a nice result. We don't have to control the race, that's up to others."
 
"The course is tougher than last year and more teams can open the race," Roelandts said. "There are also more places that make that possible. Compared to last year the race will be made much harder in the run-up to the last passage of the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg.
 
"The Koppenberg is closer to the finish now, from then on it's going up and down all the time and there's no time for recuperation. For me that's a good evolution.
 
"It's indeed the case that some riders who helped me last year have fallen out, but we now have Tony Gallopin in the team. Broeckx has proven in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad that he's good in maintaining a position in the front of the peloton. We shouldn't be afraid and definitely not ride defensively.
 
"I hope I have a very good day. In the previous races I rode the final, but I haven't set a real top result yet. My condition is definitely alright for Sunday.
 
"If Tony and I are in the front of the race together at the end, I might speculate on my sprint and he can ride more offensively, but there are several options. You have to trust on your instinct.
 
"Of course the team expects something from me. I hope we get into the final with two or three riders and animate the race. After last year I certainly aim for a podium place again."
 
"Of course I want to perform the best as possible on Sunday," Gallopin said. "Considering this is only my third Tour of Flanders it's difficult to make an estimation. A place in top ten would be great.
 
"In 2012 and 2013 the race broke loose on the last passage of the Oude Kwaremont. Now the route has changed again and that's always special. In such a case it's always waiting to see how the race will evolve. For the Tour of Flanders there are many possible scenarios."
 
Selection Lotto Belisol: Lars Bak, Kris Boeckmans, Stig Broeckx, Jens Debusschere, Kenny Dehaes, Tony Gallopin, Pim Ligthart and Jürgen Roelandts.
 
Sports directors: Bart Leysen and Herman Frison.

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