Lotto Belisol will line up two sprinters and two GC riders in their home race, Eneco Tour. André Greipel and Jens Debusschere will share sprinting duties while the in-form Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens will target the overall standings.
The WorldTour is up and running. Two days after the end of the Tour of Poland, the Eneco Tour starts Monday 11th of August. This seven day stage race, covering Belgium and the Netherlands, is heading for its tenth edition.
There is something for every type of rider. The opening stage starts and finishes in Terneuzen, a first chance for the sprinters to get their stage win. Also the day after, in the Dutch town of Heusden, the finish offers chances for the sprinters.
There is a 9.6 kilometer individual time trial in Breda scheduled on Wednesday. Thursday the Eneco Tour caravan will move to Belgium. Just as last year, there is a stage from Koksijde to Ardooie. This will also be a new opportunity for the sprinters to show off.
The day after Geraardsbergen is the hosting town. There have to be covered no less than 19 climbs. After a big loop of about 110 kilometers with among others the Kruisberg, Berendries and Tenbosse, the peloton passes the finish line at the Vesten in Geraardsbergen for the first time. The last three laps are small and contain the Muur van Geraardsbergen.
The penultimate stage starts in Heerlen and heads to the Belgian Ardennes for a finish on La Redoute. On the final day the peloton is served a total of 16 climbs. Among those climbs there are some of the Amstel Gold Race like the Loorberg and Eyserbosweg. The overall standings of the Eneco Tour will know their final judgement in Sittard-Geleen.
Sports director, Herman Frison outlines his expectations for the Eneco Tour.
“First of all we will try to win at least one stage in the Eneco Tour. Besides that we aim at a good GC. In the bunch sprints we have both André Greipel and Jens Debusschere to strive for a win. Greipel didn’t race since the Tour. We will decide who’s to be our main sprinter day by day.
"Concerning the overall standings we count on Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens, who showed their good shape in the Tour de Wallonie and Clasica San Sebastián. Depending on the form of Jürgen Roelandts, who also rode the Tour de France, we could have a third contender for the GC.
“It’s difficult to estimate where the crucial moments for the overall standings will take place. The first stages in the Netherlands can also be treacherous. The time trial is less than ten kilometers, so there’s not a lot of time that can be lost, however those seconds will have their impact.
"After the time trial, the leader of the GC and his team will take control of the race. In the stage with start and finish in Geraardsbergen, the climbs will be ridden in another way than in the spring. In the stage to La Redoute there are differences to be made towards the end. Also the bonifications will be important.”
Lotto Belisol Selection:
Stig Broeckx, Jens Debusschere, Gert Dockx, André Greipel, Jürgen Roelandts, Marcel Sieberg, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens.
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