Preview Tour de Wallonie
From Saturday 23 July 2016 till Wednesday 27 July 2016, the Tour de Wallonie is scheduled. A part of the peloton will be guided through the tough Walloon landscape. This stage race will be something for the Classics riders as there are several climbs situated on the course.
The stages are quite similar compared to previous years. The first stage will most likely offer a chance to the sprinters. Also the second stage can end with a bunch sprint, although the punchers might have a better opportunity in the hard finale. After that, the longest stage of this race is scheduled. At the end, the riders need to cover a few local laps and a tough climb is situated in each lap. This may offer another chance for punchers or attackers. Finally, the last two stages will be very important for GC. The riders have to surmount several hard climbs so the GC riders need to be attentive.
Lotto Soudal participates with among others Tiesj Benoot. Last week, Tiesj Benoot finished fifth on GC at Tour de Pologne. He will try to aim for a good position on GC in this stage race.
Kurt Van de Wouwer, sports director Lotto Soudal: “In my opinion, our roster for the Tour de Wallonie is very strong. Six riders participated in GP Cerami last Wednesday (Jelle Wallays won this race, LTS). The other two riders will be Tiesj Benoot and Sean De Bie. It’s a nice mix of young and more experienced riders. Each and every one of them prepared themselves really well so I’m confident that we can obtain some nice results.”
“Our main goal is to win a stage. The first two stages will possibly end with a bunch sprint, Kris Boeckmans and Tosh Van der Sande will be our leaders if that’s the outcome. But also riders such as Jelle Wallays or Sean De Bie can try to obtain a stage win. Finally, Tiesj Benoot will aim for a good result on GC. He rode very well during the Tour de Pologne and Tiesj showed that he’s in great shape. He’ll certainly have the opportunity to show himself.”
“The course will be covered in the other direction compared to previous year. The stages remain more or less the same, but now the riders ride from Charleroi to Liège. Last year, it was the other way around. It’s a very hard race and the course is very varied. The first stages will most likely end with a bunch sprint, the final three stages will be very important for the GC riders. We’ll have to be attentive right from the first stage. Last year, Niki Terpstra secured his overall victory during the first stage. Therefore, it will be important to ride aggressively and to put pressure on other teams.”
Jelle Vanendert: “I’m really looking forward to race again after a long rest period. I did a training week in Livigno and then it’s always important to rest as good as possible so your body can recover from the hard trainings. The environment in Livigno is perfect to prepare yourself for the second half of the cycling season. Last Wednesday (GP Cerami, LTS), I rode my first race since a long period and everything went really well. I felt good on the bike. Unfortunately, I was involved in a crash but the wounds are not that bad. I only have some scratches so I’ll be fully recovered to start at Tour de Wallonie on Saturday.”
“The Tour de Wallonie is a very nice stage race. The course contains a lot of hard parts and it allows an aggressive way of racing. Our team likes these kind of races, we always try to attack and this course is perfectly suited for that. I already did a recon of the final two stages, they’re both really tough stages and I’ll certainly test my legs if I get an opportunity. I think I’m ready to obtain some nice results as I prepared myself really well for the second half of the season. I hope to show myself and I’ll help the team to obtain the victory when that’s necessary.”
Roster Lotto Soudal:
Tiesj Benoot, Kris Boeckmans, Sean De Bie, Gert Dockx, Pim Ligthart, Tosh Van der Sande, Jelle Vanendert and Jelle Wallays.
Sports directors: Kurt Van de Wouwer and Marc Wauters.