Lineup & Preview: Tour of Flanders

The 2nd monument of the year and the pinnacle of the Belgian classic’s is upon us with the 101st edition of the Tour of Flanders taking place on Sunday, 2nd April. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka are looking forward to being part of this historical race and will aim for a podium placing come Sunday.

Stooped in tradition, being run over 260km through the Flanders fields and incorporating all the famous Belgian cobbled climbs, for many the Tour of Flanders is the peak of the cycling season. The importance of this event is undoubted and Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will hope to use the Tour of Flanders to create further awareness for Qhubeka by racing aggressively and finishing on the podium in Oudenaarde.

The course, as always, will be unrelenting and will certainly punish any form of weakness and misfortune. The business end of the race will surely start just after the 200km mark has been passed, with still 8 of the 18 climbs to come.  The Oude Kwaremont, Paterberg and Koppenberg climbs will be the most talked about climbs as they will each be completed more than once and are the expected climbs for where the race winner will make his move.

The challenge will be to arrive at the 200km mark with strength in numbers for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, as it’s rather common to see less than half of the peloton still in contention at this point. Our African Team will rely on Merhawi Kudus, Scott Thwaites, Bernhard Eisel, Tyler Farrar, Jay Thomson, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Nic Dougall and Youcef Reguigui to show our colours at the head of affairs and ultimately, with the goal of standing on the podium.

It will be the first time Kudus takes on the steep Belgian cobbled climbs but his impressive power-to-weight ratio will make him a real contender on the likes of the Kwaremont. Thwaites ensures we have two aces to play at De Ronde, by showing at last weeks Gent-Wevelgem that he has the strength and condition to be considered among the broader group of favourites. Our African Team will be rallying around these two for the finale in Oudenaarde.

Merhawi Kudus – Rider
I am really looking forward to starting on Sunday. It is going to be a new experience for me but one I am really excited and motivated for. I remember racing on the cobbles at the Tour de France in 2015 and I surprised myself with my performance there. With some big strong guys like Bernie, Jay and Tyler around me, I will hope to arrive at the Oude Kwaremont with the front group and then it’s all about seeing what the legs can do.

Roger Hammond – Sport Director
Tour of Flanders is one of the big five, it’s stooped in history at over 100 years old. It is a privilege and an honour to be able to race this event, let alone go into it with a real chance to light it up and challenge for the victory at the end. After the weekend at Gent-Wevelgem where we made an error, it cost us any chance of winning the event and we want to put that right. Sunday is an opportunity to do so and what better stage to do it than the narrow cobble streets of Tour of Flanders.