This weekend Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will start its Spring Classic’s campaign by racing the E3 Harelbeke tomorrow and the Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday. We will have the same squad lining up for both these World Tour events and our African Team are motivated to achieve a top result with our team leader, Edvald Boasson Hagen.
The E3 Harelbeke will take place over 206km tomorrow and this year’s edition of the race includes no less than 15 of the famous Belgian hellingen (climbs). With 13 of the short, steep and mostly cobbled climbs coming in the final 90km of the race, it is sure to be another thrilling edition of the spring classic. The Taaienberg, Paterberg and Oude Kwaremont climbs are expected to be the stage for most of the action once again.
Gent-Wevelgem will take place for 79th time when the riders leave the start in Deinze on Sunday. Known as the spring classic for the sprinters because of the fewer climbs and cobbled sections, although this year the organisers have added a few new gravel sectors which should shake up the racing that much more. The parcours covers a lengthy 249km in total and as we have seen in the past, if the weather makes a turn for the worse then a strong team will be able to split the race.
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will be looking to Boasson Hagen as its protected rider at E3 and Gent-Wevelgem. Boasson Hagen, a previous winner of Gent-Wevelgem has been on a steady progression, building his form toward the Paris-Roubaix. Scott Thwaites will also be one to watch from our African Team, after a successful classics season last year and already a solid start to 2017, Thwaites will be key rider for us at both races.
In completing our roster, our African Team will be able to rely on the experienced trio of Bernhard Eisel, also a former Gent-Wevelgem victor, Tyler Farrar and Mark Renshaw to read the racing. Jay Thomson, Nic Dougall and Youcef Reguigui give our team depth in their collective strength.
Roger Hammond – Sport Director
It is an exciting time for us as the Belgian classics are always a big focus. Milan-Sanremo kicks off the one day racing but this is where the real heart of cycling is. We are really excited but we are in a bit of the unknown. The team is still building and trying to find its feet this year and the E3 is not an easy event. So, we are jumping into the deep end so to speak because we have a limited classics team in terms of numbers, we don’t have the luxury of swapping riders and doing the other events to get ready. So, there are a lot of nerves going around but they are positive and exciting nerves. Edvald proved last year he is a force to be reckoned with in any of the one day races. I like to look at it as, if Edvald won would you be surprised? I don’t think anyone would be so that always makes him one of the favourites for these races. Both E3 and Gent-Wevelgem are great opportunities for us and winning anyone of these is massive and just as difficult as trying to win Flanders or Roubaix, so we stand as good a chance as ever.