ProTeam Lotto Soudal ready for Belgian opening weekend
This weekend the peloton will be tackling the famous Belgian cobbles for the first time of the 2022 cycling season. On Saturday, Lotto Soudal will be at the start of the 77th edition of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. On Sunday, the Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne will organize its 74th edition.
The following seven riders will line up at the start of the Omloop: Victor Campenaerts, Jasper De Buyst, Philippe Gilbert, Harry Sweeny, Brent Van Moer, Florian Vermeersch and Tim Wellens. Sports director Nikolas Maes looks ahead to the first Belgian cobbled Classics.
“For the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad we have selected a strong team with a lot of depth, which we need to play out during the race itself. Predicting where a race like the Omloop will explode is very difficult. But it’s sure that on the one hand we need to anticipate and on the other hand we need to follow interesting moves. Every rider in our team starts with a clear task and we will stick to this as much as possible.”
For Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, Lotto Soudal has penned down the following seven riders on paper: Cedric Beullens, Jasper De Buyst, Arnaud De Lie, Caleb Ewan, Frederik Frison, Sébastien Grignard and Harry Sweeny.
“I have the impression that Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne is once again evolving into a race for sprinters. Although the Oude Kwaremont is no longer part of the course, it won’t make the race less tough. It still remains a hard Classic in which various scenarios are possible. It will be crucial not to be surprised during the climbs and if it comes to a sprint, we have two fast trump cards with Caleb Ewan and Arnaud De Lie.”
“The opening weekend already gives an indication of the shape the riders are in, but it certainly doesn’t say it all. For me, the opening weekend and the following cobbled Classics are two separate things. Races like Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico can still deliver a change of shape. Of course, I expect the team to put in a nice performance this weekend. But more important is that the riders are fully prepared for what’s still to come”, concludes sports director Nikolas Maes.