Preview Ster ZLM Toer
On Wednesday Lotto Soudal will stand at the start of the Dutch stage race Ster ZLM Toer, which lasts till Sunday 19 June. Last year André Greipel won two stages and he was the overall winner. Can the team equal that performance this year?
Bart Leysen, sports director: “Of course we would love to achieve the same results as last year, but that won’t be easy. Our first goal is to win one stage with André Greipel. This close to the Tour it is always good to win. Last year André won the GC as well, because he gained bonus seconds by winning two stages. A good overall result is always possible.”
“We built a team with the intention to win a stage with André. Kris Boeckmans, who had to leave the Dauphine early due to a wasp sting, is now also part of our selection. He will be an important rider to help in the sprint preparation. Apart from Kris we can also rely on Sean De Bie, Jasper De Buyst, Greg Henderson and Marcel Sieberg. Frederik Frison can help chasing the breakaways. Also Maxime Monfort wants to help André this week. At the Giro that was difficult because he had his own ambitions that weren’t compatible with helping to prepare the sprints. What Sean is concerned he also wants to set a good result in the prologue and that could be a first step towards a good GC.”
The prologue is scheduled tomorrow evening. The riders have to cover 6.4 kilometres in Goes. Then there are three sprint stages, only the stage on Saturday in Belgium is harder.
Bart Leysen: “The course is similar to previous editions. The stage with start and finish in Oss on Thursday wasn’t part of the race last year, but we already raced in the area. It is a flat stage, a bunch sprint can hardly be avoided. The stage to Buchten is hilly, but the finale isn’t, so we can expect a sprint there as well, just like on Sunday. The Saturday stage is the hardest, but Greipel should be capable of following for a long while. It will depend on how the other teams race that day.”
Line-up Lotto Soudal:
Kris Boeckmans, Sean De Bie, Jasper De Buyst, Frederik Frison, André Greipel, Greg Henderson, Maxime Monfort and Marcel Sieberg.
Sports directors: Bart Leysen and Kurt Van de Wouwer.
Stage 1 Wednesday 15 June: Goes – Goes (6.4 km) (prologue)
Stage 2 Thursday 16 June: Oss – Oss (186 km)
Stage 3 Friday 17 June: Buchten – Buchten (210 km)
Stage 4 Saturday 18 June: Verviers – La Gileppe (186 km)
Stage 5 Sunday 19 June: Someren – Boxtel (186 km)