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“I’m happy with my current shape and I’m still growing stronger. In Ghent-Wevelgem I gained extra confidence for the next two weeks. Being ill at the beginning of the season hasn’t really affected me."

Photo: Lotto Soudal

JURGEN ROELANDTS

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LOTTO SOUDAL

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RONDE VAN VLAANDEREN

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02.04.2015 @ 18:07 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

It’s the 99th edition of the Tour of Flanders this year. On Sunday 5th April, Easter Sunday, the riders will start at a quarter past ten in Bruges. After a neutralization of 9.2 kilometres the WorldTour race officially starts in Loppem. The peloton then starts a ride of 264.2 kilometres over Flemish roads, full of cobbles and hills.

 

 

There are many favourites for the Tour of Flanders like John Degenkolb, Stijn Devolder, Alexander Kristoff, Peter Sagan, Zdenek Stybar, Niki Terpstra, Geraint Thomas, Greg Van Avermaet and Sep Vanmarcke. In 2013 Jürgen Roelandts stood on the podium as third. This year the Belgian wants to set another unforgettable performance. He is really confident after his breakaway in Ghent-Wevelgem.

 

“I’m happy with my current shape and I’m still growing stronger," Roelandts said. "In Ghent-Wevelgem I gained extra confidence for the next two weeks. Being ill at the beginning of the season hasn’t really affected me. I restarted my season in Tirreno-Adriatico and from then on, I had no stress. I was quite relaxed in the run-up to the Tour of Flanders. It was a better preparation than the past years. I even feel more fresh compared to the same period last season.

 

“I expect an open race on Sunday, with a wide range of favourites. The riders who were active in the final of Ghent-Wevelgem, will be there on Sunday too. I think Geraint Thomas is the main favourite. Alexander Kristoff won’t be able to leave me behind on the hills, but I don’t want go to the finish with him. Stijn Devolder is also in good shape. He dares to go for an early escape. Etixx – Quick-Step is a strong as a team, but we are not less strong, the last races we were present in each final. We have got very good riders to race aggressively. We have to trust in our own strength. It’s important to anticipate.

 

“I will race certainly more tactically than in Ghent-Wevelgem and I won’t attack that soon. To determine the right time to attack, you have to watch everyone around you: which riders are in this group, how do they feel, do they have teammates with them,…? The Oude Kwaremont is of course one of the most important points on the route, but that climb doesn’t have to be decisive. Although on the second ascent of the Oude Kwaremont we will see fireworks. It would be nice to finish on the podium again. Nevertheless it will be tough to be second or third at a minimal distance of the winner.”

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