Strong squad with a range of options selected for the highly anticipated “Opening Weekend” in Belgium.
The weekend’s racing gets underway with premiere opening event of the Spring Classics – Omloop Het Nieuwsblad – where the 2018 winner Michael Valgren and Edvald Boasson Hagen, who was third in 2014, spearhead our challenge over the 200km course from Gent to Ninove.
They’ll be ably supported by Michael Gogl, who has impressed since he’s joined the team. Norwegian Rasmus Tiller’s stock continues to rise in our Classics squad and will be looking for a strong day out; while the experience of Reinardt Janse van Rensburg will be invaluable.
Youngsters Andreas Stokbro and Samuele Battistella complete our selection. The latter, the current under 23 World Champion, as already raced in Australia and Malaysia for us.
For Sunday’s Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne we make one change as Giacomo Nizzolo – who secured our first WorldTour win of the year at the Tour Down Under – is drafted in to replace his countryman.
The 203km route will prove a real test with more often than not it resulting in a sprint finish.
“It’s super nice to be back in Belgium, even if the weather’s been a bit bad. It’s nice to be back on the roads that I’ve won on before and I’m quite excited and getting nervous already.
It’s always a special one the Opening Weekend, everyone wants to fight for position so it will for sure be stressful with the gusting wind and the weather so it will be a real day for a “Flandrien”.
It will be super-cool, we have a good, motivated team here so I hope we can do well as it will be nice to get a good start to the Cobbles Classics campaign with the guys, so we go for the best and see how it goes.”