Quick-Step Floors to Classic de l’Ardèche and Drôme Classic
Bob Jungels will lead the team at the two hilly one-day races scheduled on Saturday and Sunday.
With the cobbles specialists set to cross swords over the weekend at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, the climbers and the puncheurs will have their own battles in south-east France, at Classic de l'Ardèche (200.2km) and Drôme Classic (206km).
Starting and finishing in Guilherand-Granges, Classic de l'Ardèche packs twelve Ardennes-type climbs, the most important being Côte du Val d'Enfer (1000 meters, 6.9%), which will be tackled on four occasions, last time with under ten kilometers to go. On Sunday, Drôme Classic will boast a parcours comprising 14 hills, last of which are Mur d'Allex (800 meters, 7.8%) and Côte de Haut Livron (400 meters, 10.5%), where the attackers will try to make the difference.
Bob Jungels is set to return to racing this weekend, after riding to fifth place overall at Volta ao Algarve, and the Luxembourg Champion is motivated to make the most out of his outing in the two French races, which were won by teammate Petr Vakoč in 2016.
"I remember doing Ardèche back in 2012, before turning pro; it's a nice but hard race, with steep hills and twisting descents, and I am looking forward to riding it. I've had a strong week in the Portugal, I'm happy with my top 5 overall there and my condition, and I hope to take this good form into Ardèche and Drôme, which I'm confident that will turn out to be useful when I'll line out for Tirreno-Adriatico in March."
Joining the 25-year-old for the two French races will be Eros Capecchi, Rémi Cavagna, Davide Martinelli, Ecuadorian Champion Jhonatan Narvaez, Maximilian Schachmann and Pieter Serry.
Photo: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images