This weekend we will be in France for a UCI 1.Pro double header, taking on the Faun Ardeche Classic on Saturday and Royal Bernard Drome Classic on Sunday.
The French classics take place in the respective hilly regions of south-east France and so the punchy type climbers are expected to go head-to-head for top honours.
NTT Pro Cycling will have a few options over the weekend, with a versatile climbing group taking on both races. Carlos Barbero, Roman Kreuziger and Ben King will lead our younger climbing talents of Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier, Gino Mader and Matteo Sobrero.
Completing our team will be our newly crowned South African champion, Ryan Gibbons. While the parcour may not suit his abilities perfectly, he will certainly relish the opportunity to show off his new jersey.
What to Watch
The numerous climbs will certainly provide the platform for many attacks but it could be the inclement weather that separates the the best from the rest. The rain and wind, which has been consistent over the last few weeks in central Europe, is expected to continue through the weekend.
We have two really challenging races coming up back-to-back this weekend in France and I expect the racing to be pretty open. The weather could make the racing even more open but we have a strong team that is well-equipped with our Assos gear, which will be to our advantage. Each race is a single day classic but I think the guys who are going well on Saturday will be marked on Sunday, making for another interesting racing dynamic.