Quick-Step Floors to Dwars door West-Vlaanderen
A young and motivated team will be at the start of Sunday's one-day race.
After storming to a spectacular 1-2 at Le Samyn, Quick-Step Floors will look to make another strong outing in Belgium, this time at Dwars door West-Vlaanderen, the 189.3km-long race which starts in Nieuwpoort and takes the peloton over a series of steep hills (including the famed Kemmelberg – whose maximum gradient rises above 20%) and cobblestrone stretches, before finishing in Ichtegem.
Fabio Jakobsen (who won the sprint of the peloton, coming home 13th in Le Samyn), Davide Martinelli and Florian Sénéchal have all been part of the team that stamped its authority on Wednesday's race and will be back in action for the 72nd edition of Dwars door West-Vlaanderen, where they'll be joined by Rémi Cavagna, Alvaro Hodeg, Jhonatan Narvaez and Maximiliano Richeze, a stage winner this season at Vuelta a San Juan.
The Belgian race will be the first of the year to feature three of the team's four neo-pros, two of whom will take on the cobbles for the first time since joining the team, and sports director Tom Steels is curious to see how they'll fare on the pavé in the inclement weather forecasted for Sunday.
"Racing in West-Flanders and starting near the coast means the wind is always crucial for the tactic, sometimes more than the steep hills or the cobblestone sections. With the famous Kemmelberg and two cobblestone sectors in the four final laps, plus the bad weather, which you could see that is wreaking havoc at the moment in Europe, it's not going to be an easy race."
"We have riders from Colombia, Ecuador and Argentina in the line-up, so we'll have to see how they will react to these conditions. Ok, most of them proved in their recent races that they are in a good form and are adapted to the weather, but Hodeg just arrived from two months of racing in 30 degrees, while Narvaez has never seen real cobblestones in a race, and will learn that there's another way of racing in cycling. We will see what this young team is capable of, but we are confident they can have an impact on Sunday's race", concluded Tom Steels.
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