Etixx – Quick-Step to Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen
The Belgian event will mark Maximiliano Richeze's return to the team after his injury in Tour de San Luis.
Created more than seven decades ago, what is today known as Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen beared other names in the past, such as Omloop der Vlaamse Ardennen and the Guldensporentweedaagse, and has evolved since its early days from a one-day race to a stage event. Throughout the years, it was dominated by the Belgians, among the ones to take the spoils being Wilfried Peeters, who now acts as our sport director, and in more recent times, Julien Vermote and Yves Lampaert.
Scheduled to take place between 4-6 March, Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen will open in Middelkerke for the sixth year in a row, with a fast and rolling prologue, and continue with a challenging stage during which the peloton will cover four hills: Tiegemberg (twice), Holstraat and Oude Kwaremont. The final day will be the most difficult of the race, as the riders will face eight climbs (including Kemmelberg and Catteberg) and five cobbled sectors, on which the ones fighting for the overall classification will have a good shot at making the difference.
Six of the Etixx – Quick-Step men who will ride the 70th Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen will do it after previously helping Niki Terpstra in his victorious campaign at Le Samyn, earlier this week: Julian Alaphilippe, Rodrigo Contreras, Laurens De Plus, Davide Martinelli, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck and Lukasz Wisniowski. They will be joined by Maxime Bouet, who'll return to a Belgian stage race for the first time in eight years, and Maximiliano Richeze. The 32-year-old, who kicked-off his season by taking the leader's jersey on the first stage of Tour de San Luis, will be back in action following a six-week break caused by a bone fisure on the neck of the left femur, which he suffered in the Argentinian race.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele