Skoda Tour de Luxembourg
Matthias Brändle: “I would like to add to the recent success of the team”
THE STATEMENT: The Austrian cyclist Matthias Brändle left the Giro d’Italia at the end of the second week with a focus on his upcoming races. He took time to recover from his accumulated fatigue, and after taking second place in the Giro individual time trial in Chianti, he is now ready to post some more good results. “I would like to add to the recent success of the team,” Brändle said. The 26 year-old Brändle has the upcoming 2.9 kilometer prologue in Luxembourg City in his sights. “The route is very short with a difficult descent and a steep ramp that reaches 18% gradient on the cobbles. For a stage like that, everything must go perfectly in order to get a top result. But this discipline is a specialty of mine, and I am well prepared, so I will go to the start with big ambitions.”
THE MEMORY: Brändle already raced the Skoda Tour de Luxembourg in 2013. At that time, he finished the prologue in fifth place, and finished that tour as the best young rider in fourth place overall. “I love to race in Luxembourg. At the prologue on Wednesday night, there will be a great atmosphere, and the race could suit me quite well in general. For the various climbs, it is possible just to power to the top, and hope you can keep your good legs. If I can grab the leader’s jersey in the prologue, I will certainly defend it for as long as possible. But my main up-coming goal is the Tour of Switzerland, so I hope that these five days racing in Luxembourg will help me put on the finishing touches to my form ahead of the Tour of Switzerland.”
THE TOUR: There will be a total of 15 teams at the start of this year’s Skoda Tour de Luxembourg (UCI cat 2. HC). In addition to the Swiss IAM Cycling team, there will be BMC, Tinkoff, Lotto-Soudal and Orica-GrennEDGE, in addition to four more World Tour teams. There will also be seven Pro Continental teams and three Continental teams joining the peloton at the event.
THE GOAL: “Our main goal is to win the prologue with Matthias Brändle,” IAM Cycling sports director Rik Verbrugghe confirmed. “Brändle is in good shape, and the Tour de Luxembourg represents a good test for him, essentially the last finishing touches before the Tour of Switzerland. We also have several other strong riders who have recently been training at high altitude, so this tour will be a final test for their form ahead of the upcoming main goals and highlights.”
THE CLIMBS: At this year’s Skoda Tour de Luxembourg there will be a total of 17 categorized climbs in the four main stages. Though the climbs are typically not very long, they can be very steep. The longest climb is the “Bourscheid” at 3500 meters in the middle of the third stage, coming 100 kilometers from the finish. By contrast, the shortest climb is the Col de Schifflange. At just 440 meters long it still boasts a maximum gradient of 17.62% coming at the finish of the second stage. But the steepest climb is the Cote de Syren which pitches up to 19.95%. At 900 meters long, the ramp must be tackled four times (three times counting towards the mountains classification) during Thursday’s first stage.
Manager sportif: Rik Verbrugghe.
Directeur sportif: Rubens Bertogliati & Thierry Marichal.
Matthias Brändle (Aut)
Mathias Frank (S)
Pirmin Lang (S)
Simon Pellaud (S)
David Tanner (Aus)
Oliver Zaugg (S).