Sean De Bie is ambitious for Brabantse Pijl
Before the Ardennes Classics take place, it’s the Brabantse Pijl tomorrow. This Europe Tour race of 197 kilometres starts in Leuven and finishes in Overijse. The riders will find 26 hills on their route. The local circuit is the toughest section of the course. The peloton has to cover three laps of 23.5 kilometres containing the Hagaard, Hertstraat, Holstheide, IJskelderlaan and Schavei. With Petr Vakoc, Ben Hermans and Philippe Gilbert the winners of the previous three editions will take the start. Sean De Bie is one of the eight riders in the Lotto Soudal line-up. The 25-year-old Belgian chose to ride the Ardennes Classics this year. Last week he finalized his preparation at Vuelta al País Vasco, where he finished two times on top five.
Sean De Bie: “I felt good at the Vuelta al País Vasco, also uphill it went smoothly and that proves that I am close to my top shape. I abandoned the race on the penultimate day, so I would be able to take sufficient rest before the Ardennes Classics. The past days I didn’t do intensive trainings anymore. Yesterday, I rode two hours behind the scooter.”
“The past seasons I always rode the Flemish spring races and I felt like the time had come to get a taste of the Ardennes Classics. I am still young and I want to see if those races suit me. I really peaked towards this period to get a realistic idea of my possibilities in these races. I am very grateful to the team that I get this opportunity. And the fact that I get their trust, encourages me. I often train in the Ardennes, so I know many roads and hills. About six weeks ago I did a recon of the Amstel. That will come in handy with all those twists and turns.”
“The course of the Brabantse Pijl I know very well. In the hill section there are a lot of corners and I can benefit from my past in cyclo-cross on those roads. The finish is one long sprint on the Schavei. You really need good legs to beat your opponents. The past years, the last hill often turned out to be decisive. Although it is possible that a select group gets away on the penultimate lap, so you need to be attentive. I aim for the victory. That’s definitely possible with my current shape. Michael Matthews will be a main opponent, he was riding very strong in the Vuelta al País Vasco. He is the man to beat.”
Line-up Lotto Soudal: Tiesj Benoot, Sean De Bie, Thomas De Gendt, Tomasz Marczynski, Rémy Mertz, Tosh Van der Sande, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens.
Sports director: Mario Aerts