Preview Bretagne Classic Ouest-France
On August 28, the Bretagne Classic Ouest-France takes place, the former GP Plouay. The organisation of the race wants to highlight the entire region. However, the start and finish of the race is still in Plouay where the riders also cover a local lap.
During the 247 kilometres long race, the peloton has to climb seven hills. The climbs are short and have an average gradient of 2.4% to 5%. Just like last year, the riders have to surmount the Ty Marrec before they arrive at the finish. The climb is part of the local lap and has an average gradient of six per cent. The Ty Marrec may only be one and a half kilometre long, but after a long and hard race, the climb can definitely weed out the peloton. Once at the top, the riders have to survive the descent and a few flat kilometres before sprinting towards the finish line.
Bart Leysen, sports director: “The last couple of years we played an important role in the race and we had good results, but I hope that we can win this year. With the team selection that we have for this edition we should definitely be on the podium and maybe even win. It’s not sure yet who will be leading our team, that will depend on how the race evolves. However it would be good if one of our riders is in the breakaway. That shouldn’t have to be a problem with riders like Ligthart, De Bie and Vanendert. And then, depending on when the finale starts we have various options. If the finale starts early in the race, then we can count on Tim Wellens, Tony Gallopin and Jelle Vanendert. Tim tried to attack several years ago, but it was too far to the finish. So this year he should try and do that again a bit later in the race. That goes for Gallopin as well. Anyhow, if the race turns out in a sprint, then we still have Roelandts and Debusschere. In the last few kilometres towards the sprint, there is still a hill to overcome. It’s important that we’re in the front of the peloton there. Usually the peloton is long and small and it costs a lot of effort to come back in the first positions of the peloton after that.
The sports director doesn’t think that the new course will influence the race too much: “The new course won’t change much. The riders are the ones racing and deciding how a race evolves, not the people who designed the course.”
Jürgen Roelandts: “For now it’s very difficult to know what will or could happen in the race because they changed the course. Now there is one big lap and only a few local ones. In the previous editions it was enough to be in the right position or to attack in the last lap, but that might change now. We’re going to Plouay a day before the race so I then I’ll do a recon of the new part. However, I’ve performed very well in this race over the last few years. I’ve always finished in the top five and this year I would like to be on the podium. The fact that we have a very varied and combative team does give confidence to do well.
Team selection: Tiesj Benoot, Sean De Bie, Jens Debusschere, Tony Gallopin, Pim Ligthart, Jürgen Roelandts, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens.