Quick-Step Floors Team to BinckBank Tour
Belgium and Netherlands will play host to one of the most spectacular stage races of the season.
The Spring Classics are making a return to the calendar, this time in August, at the BinckBank Tour, where sprinters, cobblestones aficionados and puncheurs alike will have the opportunity to fight for victories and a solid result in the general classification during the seven-day stage race which this year runs its 13th edition. From Breda to Sittard and from Riemst to the mythical Muur van Geraardsbergen, the BinckBank Tour will offer a varied and challenging terrain, which should produce some spectacular fireworks next week.
Marcel Kittel, who had to abandon the Tour de France just four days from Paris while wearing the green jersey, will return to competition at the BinckBank Tour, where the 29-year-old German – winner of 14 races this season – will be one of the riders to watch for in the stages to Venray, Ardooie and Lanaken, all expected to conclude in a bunch sprint.
One of most prominent riders at this race since its inception in 2005, runner-up six years ago and a double stage victor, Philippe Gilbert will hope to rekindle the form that carried him to five wins – including Ronde van Vlaanderen and Amstel Gold Race – in the first part of the season, on the familiar roads which have witnessed some of his biggest career triumphs.
The Quick-Step Floors team for the 29th World Tour event of 2017 will comprise also Dries Devenyns, Iljo Keisse, Dwars door Vlaanderen victor Yves Lampaert, Maximiliano Richeze, defending champion Niki Terpstra – who has recently made his comeback, at the Tour de Pologne – and Petr Vakoč.
"Our first goal is a stage victory. We come here with strong riders, who can do well regardless of the terrain and are capable of getting a win, so that will be our main focus. Of course, we'd like to do also a good GC, but we'll take it day by day, see how the guys are feeling and how the race unfolds", said sport director Tom Steels.
"The parcours is more or less similar to the one of the past editions. We don't believe the individual time trial will have any serious impact on the race, which will heat up in the last three days, when we'll witness a natural selection. The battle for the overall victory should be a tight one, with the final stage to Geraardsbergen very likely to be decisive", concluded Steels, who'll lead the squad from behind the wheel together with Wilfried Peeters.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele