The classics season is upon us and Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka is all set for the Belgian “Opening Weekend”, comprising of the World Tour classic, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday followed by the UCI 1.HC Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne on Sunday.
It is back to the short and sharp cobbled climbs around Oudenaarde in Belgium this weekend, as our African Team is set to tackle the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday. At 196km in length, the “Omloop” is set to be a tough challenge once again with no less than 8 pavé sectors and 13 hellingen (climbs) along the course.
Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne is another 200km test on some of the toughest roads in the Flanders region. Of the 12 climbs on course, your traditional cycling fans will know of the blood, sweat and tears that have been shed on climbs such as Oude-Kwaremont, Kluisberg and the Tiegemberg. We can expect a full field of classic specialists at both events this weekend and our African Team will have 7 riders ready to challenge for the podium.
In Edvald Boasson Hagen, Julien Vermote, Bernie Eisel and Scott Thwaites, our African Team will look to have strength in numbers when it comes to the race finales. All 4 riders have seen the business end of these races in the past and collectively, the goal will be to finish on the podium. Jay Thomson, Nic Dougall and Ryan Gibbons complete our team this weekend and the South African trio will provide strong support on roads they are all familiar with.
JP Heynderickx – Sport Director
It is exciting to be part of Opening Weekend this year and be racing a full classics program once again. We have a good team, riders with a lot of experience and knowledge of these roads which is always important for a good result in the Belgian classics. Having Julien in our squad this year gives our classics team a massive boost, so I think you will see a motivated performance from the guys this weekend and naturally we will race to win.