DE BRABANTSE PIJL (1.HC)
Team Giant-Alpecin will begin its Ardennes campaign at De Brabantse Pijl this Wednesday.The 56th edition starting in Leuven features a course unchanged compared to last year. The parcours is a total distance of 203km and after 133km of racing the riders will tackle three rounds of a 23.4km local circuit containing five of the toughest climbs of the race, the Hagaard, Hertstraat, Holstheide, IJskelderlaan and the Schavei.
The team comes to the race with Tom Dumoulin added to the line-up, currently preparing himself well with some good training weeks for the period of racing ahead.
« De Brabantse Pijl is always a nice race to compete in and I am anticipating a hard race with the 26 climbs to overcome, » explained coach Arthur van Dongen (NED).
« I expect the peloton to be significant once entering the three local laps, after that it will become an elimination race with many riders being dropped on the final climbs. The key moment is the difficult Schavei climb where the victory is expected to be decided. Tom is in the middle of an important training block and we will need to see to what extent he can go for a result on Wednesday. »
Arthur van Dongen (NED)
AMSTEL GOLD RACE (WT)
On Sunday the team heads to the Dutch hills for the 51st edition of the Amstel Gold Race. The race favours the attacking riders who are both capable of sprinting and climbing, as the course is anything but flat. The constant rolling roads cover a total distance of 258km with 34 climbs to tackle including the Cauberg, Gulpenerberg and Eyserbosweg.
Coach Aike Visbeek (NED) said: « The weather forecast looks optimistic for Sunday, therefore I am anticipating a traditional Amstel Gold race. The section after the Kruisberg always is an important moment in the race and we need good teamwork to position our leaders ahead of the decisive climb, the Cauberg.
« The team leaders will be Warren, Simon and home rider Tom. Together with Roy as our experienced road captain, our aim is to focus on positioning ahead of the crucial climbs and we will target a top 10 result.
Aike Visbeek (NED)