What's Cool In Road Cycling

Lotto Belisol: The European cycling season is about to start

Sunday the European cycling season begins with the Grand Prix la Marseillaise. It’s a race of 139,7 km and is part of the Europe Tour. There are three hills on the route in the part of 80 until 30 kilometers from the finish.

Three days later, on Wednesday 5th of February, the five days French stage race Etoile de Bessèges starts. This is also a race of the Europe Tour. In each of the stages the riders have to cover some small climbs. In the fourth stage the Mur de Laudun can be decisive. Other than last year there isn’t a morning stage on Sunday, but only a time trial of 11 kilometers which will form the final GC.

Marc Wauters, sports director: “The season has already kicked off in Australia and Argentina, but it’s still special to ride the first race in Europe. There is a particular atmosphere. For many riders it will be the first race, that always makes them a bit nervous. Last year Lars Bak had a chance to win the GP la Marseillaise, but unfortunately there was a collision with a motorbike. This year we want to battle again for the victory. The course isn’t very hard, but the riders always go full there and so a selection will be made.”

“Tony Gallopin is very motivated to show his new jersey in his home country. We also count on Maxime Monfort. Both riders want to go for a nice result in the GC at the Etoile de Bessèges. For that race Tosh Van der Sande will join the selection and he’s doing very well. The race development will partly decide about the role of the neo-pros. Breen, De Bie and Vallée will definitely get the chance to go along in an early break. If we have to defend a good position in GC they can help with that. The more experienced riders in the team will give them advice.”

Selection Lotto Belisol: Vegard Breen, Sean De Bie, Bart De Clercq, Tony Gallopin, Maxime Monfort, Tosh Van der Sande (only Bessèges), Boris Vallée and Dennis Vanendert.

Sports directors: Jean-Pierre Heynderickx and Marc Wauters

Stages Etoile de Bessèges
Stage 1: Wednesday 5th of February: Bellegarde – Beaucaire (154 km)
Stage 2: Thursday 6th of February: Nîmes – Saint-Ambroix (149 km)
Stage 3: Friday 7th of February: Bessèges – Bessèges (152 km)
Stage 4: Saturday 8th of February: Goudargues – Laudun (156 km)
Stage 5: Sunday 9th of February: Alès – Alès (11 km) (ITT)

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