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GP Jef Scherens

Dimitri Claeys: “A particular meaning”

Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux returns to the Tour of Leuven - Memorial Jef Scherens (1.1) this Sunday, a race in which the team ended five times on the podium since the victory of Dimitri Claeys in 2016.

Next to its new name, also the parcours underwent a major change. The 200 kilometer race is not only ridden on a local lap though the city anymore, but heads towards Overijse after the start like at the latest World Championships.

In total, not less than 37 short hills have to be covered, with for example the cobbled Mommaertstraat and Bekestraat on the double loop in Overijse before heading back to the six local laps.

This classic is the first race of the season in the colors of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux for 19 year old Dries De Pooter (13th in 2021), who starts his second period as a trainee with the team.

The young rider will race alongside former winner Dimitri Claeys, who was the best in the edition of 2016 after finishing second the year before. Just like Claeys, his compatriots Aimé De Gendt, Kévin Van Melsen and Loïc Vliegen rode the Tour de Wallonie last week.

The tandem Andrea Pasqualon and Alexander Kristoff returns into competition under the direction of Valerio Piva since the Italian rider launched the former European champion to third place on the Champs-Elysées.

« This race will always have a particular meaning for me since I won here in 2016 and not to forget my second place the year before. I'm very motivated for my last participation. Earlier this week I did the recon of the new parcours with Aimé De Gendt and Victor Campenaerts. The local circuit in the city was modified, but the main change is of course the addition of the big loop around Overijse. I know most of the roads, but it is always interesting to test the material on a parcours of a Flemish classic. I was also curious to discover the Mommaertstraat. This hill is not known yet, it is a typical cobbled climb with some steep parts. We saw in the World Championships that the selection can be important if teams decide to make the race hard. We will be at the start with a strong team and with a couple of riders who can finish it off in the sprint. I'm of course talking about Alexander Kristoff and Andrea Pasqualon, men on who you can rely all season long and especially after a good Tour de France. »


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