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A. Visbeek : “We made a step forward”

As tradition wants, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux continues its Belgian opening weekend this Sunday with Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne (27.02, 1.Pro). One day after the Omloop het Nieuwsblad, in which Andrea Pasqualon finished eighth, the World Team will participate in the classic which was often won by strong sprinters in the past.

After the start in Kuurne, the riders will cross de Flemish Ardennes again and a part of the Hainaut province before returning to the city in the neighborhood of Kortrijk. After the succession of the Katteberg and Holleweg, the rest of the climbs are concentrated in the middle of the parcours with the Mont-Saint-Laurent, the Kruisberg and the Côte de Trieu. The Old Kwaremont is absent in the final this year, but with 50 kilometer to go the Kluisberg is again the last climb of the day before returning to the local lap in Kuurne.

In eight participations, Norwegian rider Alexander Kristoff finished three times on the podium. His most recent podium appearance was his third place in 2020. He will receive the support of other fast riders such as Frenchman Adrien Petit,who finished twice in the top ten in eleven participations. Belgian rider Baptiste Planckaert makes his competition debut in 2020 alongside his compatriot Gerben Thijssen, Norwegian rider Sven Erik Bystrom and Dutchmen Boy van Poppel and Taco van der Hoorn.

« Already during our first Flemish classic I noticed that we made a step forward compared to last year and that's what we want to show again on Sunday in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne with a strong roster in support of a very motivated Alexander Kristoff, because he was already successful in the past here and because a bunch sprint is a very realistic scenario. But we also have several other cards to play in case a sprint would be avoided. Despite the bad luck during the Omloop het Nieuwsblad, I'm especially thinking about the crash of our leader Alexander Kristoff, we battled for second place with Andrea Pasqualon. This shows that our chances don't only rely on one element. »


General Classification


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