Lars Bak shouldering burden for Lotto-Belisol at Het Nieuwsblad
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Friday, February 24, 2012

Lars Bak shouldering burden for Lotto-Belisol at Het Nieuwsblad

by Kyle Moore at 8:17 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
Dane taking on leadership for new team in early Semi-Classic

CobblestonesWith Philippe Gilbert no longer on the team, and with Jürgen Roelandts sidelined after an early-season crash, Lars Bak (Lotto-Belisol) finds himself in a position of leadership in his new squad as the Classics season begins.

Star sprinter André Greipel will be the protected man in Sunday’s flatter Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, but it is Bak who gets the call for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday. 

The humble transfer from HTC-Highroad was fifth in Paris-Roubaix a year ago, and while he said that he will be aiming for a peak in form around that point of the season again this year, he is taking the bigger role within his new team very seriously.

“I am ready to take on the responsibility when the team asks,” Bak stated to Het Nieuwsblad.  “I cannot show [previous] results that give me the right to require that an entire team works for me, but when I feel I can have a good day, I will draw attention to that.”

Bak’s Lotto-Belisol team features Jurgen Van Den Broeck and a host of hill climbers and stage racers, as well as Greipel and a sprint train tailored to him.  But it is lacking many true cobbled Classics riders, and it is for this reason that the 32-year-old Bak believes he could step in for one of his biggest career results.

“I have absolutely no big wins, but I am still naïve enough to dream that my big day will come,” he added.  Before spending two years with the American HTC squad, Bak rode five seasons for Bjarne Riis’ CSC and Saxo Bank teams, and always in the assistance of a bigger Classics star.

“Riis didn’t care so much about Omloop or Kuurne, only the monuments,” Bak said of his former boss.  “So before, I never focused on this course.  Actually [I didn’t focus on] all of the Spring Classics, the last two years.  And even then I never rode for my own results, but in service of others.”

The Danish rider began his season with many of the other Classics riders, in the tours of Qatar and Oman.  He was 21st overall in Oman, and will look to continue to build form throughout the early spring.

First up is team leadership in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad semi-classic, which Bak is looking forward to.

“I will definitely be nervous on Saturday, but in a positive way,” he said.

Lotto-Belisol for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad:

Lars Ytting Bak, Sander Cordeel, Jens Debusschere, Kenny De Haes, Maarten Neyens, Vincente Reynes, Marcel Sieberg, Frederik Willems

Lotto-Belisol for Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne
André Greipel, Gregory Henderson, Lars Ytting Bak, Vincente Reynes, Marcel Sieberg, Sander Cordeel, Jonas Vangenechten, Frederik Willems


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