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Brussels Cycling Classic

The World Team is ambitious for a weekend of Belgian classics

Less than one week after the third victory in Belgium this season thanks to Gerben Thijssen, the team of Jean-François Bourlart participates in two other Belgian classics this weekend with the Heistse Pijl on Saturday, followed by the Brussels Cycling Classic the next day.

The next day, Intermarché-Circus-Wanty returns to the parcours on which Taco van der Hoorn rode to the victory last year, and Aimé De Gendt to second place behind Remco Evenepoel one year earlier.

Two times the Muur van Geraardsbergen, the Bosberg and the Congoberg are included in the second race half before the cobble sections Brabantsebaan and Rosweg, and the Heiligekruiswegstraat climb leading to the finish in front of the King Baudouin Stadium.

Two months after his bad crash in the Tour of Flanders, Eritrean rider Biniam Girmay will make his return to racing. Regional rider Arne Marit and his compatriot Laurenz Rex will participate in their first race since concluding their first Tour of Italy, accompanied by Sven Erik Bystrøm, De Gendt, Adrien Petit and Dion Smith, directed by Aike Visbeek and Hilaire Van der Schueren.

“This Wednesday I arrived in Belgium for my third competition block in Europe this season, starting with the Brussels Cycling Classic this Sunday. To prepare, I did a course recon of more than three hours together with Arne Marit and with the support of Dimitri Claeys. I climbed for the very first time the Muur van Geraardsbergen and some other climbs, twice. I can’t wait to be reunited with the team tonight and to pin a number again. I’m particularly looking forward to meet Adrien Petit, with who I trained a lot in the sprint train this winter. But so far we didn’t get the chance to race together in 2023 because of our respective injuries.”

“Mentally, the first weeks after my crash in the Tour of Flanders were difficult. Despite everything, I can be happy that the recovery process continuously evolved in the right direction. Two weeks after my crash, when I arrived home, I was allowed to resume cycling, even though the volume was quite limited in the beginning. We have been very careful with my concussion. Progressively, the effects disappeared until I received green lights from the doctors to increase intensity. Since then, I could prepare well for my return into competition.”

“I attentively followed the results of our teams, Intermarché-Circus-Wanty and Circus-ReUz-Technord. I especially noticed that the young riders of our development team are very talented and strong collectively. They contributed several times to the results of the World Team. No matter the race or the category, our team spirit stays our strength. Me too, I hope to achieve nice results for the team this month and to continue my preparation for the Tour de France in an optimal way."

"After a particularly difficult classics period for our World Team, marred by crashes and illness, we managed to offer our riders the necessary rest and build up time before the second part of the season. Our preselection for the Tour de France concluded a team altitude camp and started the final straight towards the  Grand Départ in Bilbao through three parallel competition programmes. I'm pleased to see that our strategy and the investments of all lead to good results, for example the victories of Mike Teunissen and Gerben Thijssen."

"Next to the Critérium du Dauphiné, we head to two Belgian classics this weekend with ambition. For the Heistse Pijl on Saturday, we fully focus on a bunch sprint for our leader Gerben Thijssen. To compose the selection of the Brussels Cycling Classic on Sunday, we took into account different scenarios. On the current course, two years ago the decision was made in the hill zone and last year it was the early breakaway with Taco van der Hoorn preceding a group sprint by only a couple of seconds.  We have several cards to play, I'm thinking of Arne Marit and Laurenz Rex who just concluded the Giro or Biniam Girmay, who's making his return into competition to test his condition two months after his bad crash in the Tour of Flanders."


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