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Belgium Tour

Q. Hermans : “Our collective strength is our plus factor”

From Wednesday to Sunday, Intermarché-Wanty Gobert Matériaux participates in its national tour, which is divided in five stages on the territory of seven provinces. The 91st edition of the Belgium Tour (2.Pro) stays loyal to the tradition with a stage in the Flemish Ardennes, two days tailored for sprinters, an individual time trial and a queen stage in the heart of the Walloon Ardennes.

The event starts in Merelbeke and heads towards the Flemish Ardennes, where the peloton has to cover the Haaghoek, the Leberg, the Berendries and Tenbosse after 50 kilometer and before starting the four laps around Maarkedal, each of them containing Berg ten Houte.

The second day, the peloton has to cross the open fields of the Waasland and Meetjesland regions after the start in Beveren to reach the traditional finish on De Wandelaar in Knokke-Heist. The next day, the Basilic of Scherpenheuvel-Zichem and the Abbey of Averbode are the scenery of the individual time trial of 11.8 kilometer.

 On Saturday, the queen stage around the Ardennes is divided in four laps of 44 kilometer around Durbuy, with each of them containing six climbs: Champs des Hêtres (2.1 km at 2.7%), Côte de Petit Somme (2.2 km at 5.8%), Côte de Bende (2.6 km at 4.3%), Côte de Hermanne (2.2 km at 5.8%), le Grand Houmart (1 km at 4.9%) and the Mur de Durbuy (1.2 km at 6.2%) where the finish is situated. The last stage race before the Tour de France of the World Team ends with a stage suited for sprinters towards Beringen. 

Belgian riders Quinten Hermans (2018) and Loïc Vliegen (2019) both finished eighth of their national tour and again aim for a good end result, together with Sven Erik Bystrøm and Lorenzo Rota. Sprinter Gerben Thijssen can rely on the support of his lead our Boy van Poppel, with Taco Van der Hoorn, the winner of the Brussels Cycling Classic, completing the line up under the direction of Valerio Piva, Hilaire Van der Schueren andt Frederik Veuchelen.

« There will be many sprinters at the start of the Belgium Tour, so I expect that most of the stages will be controlled. In my opinion the time trial and the queen stage in the Ardennes will decide about the general classification. I live only 7 kilometer away from Averbode, where the time trial will take place. I know each corner and I know exactly which pace I can ride on each part of false flat. I will definitely benefit from this advantage for my GC ambitions. Thanks to the aero tests we did with the team on the track in Valencia last winter, my position on the time trial bike is more efficient. I hope to repeat my top seven in the time trial of the 2018 edition. » « For the Ardennes stage, our collective strength will be our plus factor. Think about races like the Trofeo Laigueglia or the Giro dell’Appennino, in which we were always well represented in the final and took initiative. Lorenzo Rota, Loïc Vliegen, Sven Erik Bystrøm want to be present whenever the road goes up and we share the same aggressive racing style. I can’t wait to race alongside them to make our colors shine in our national tour. »

Stage 1 (15/06): Merelbeke – Maarkedal (169,9km)
Stage 2 (16/06): Beveren – Knokke-Heist (178,9km)
Stage 3 (17/06): Scherpenheuvel-Zichem – Scherpenheuvel-Zichem (11,8km) (= TT)
Stage 4 (18/06): Durbuy – Durbuy (175,2km)
Stage 5 (19/06): Gingelom – Beringen (182,1km) 


General Classification


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