Belgian WorldTour teams hunting late season glory in Circuit Franco-Belge
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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Belgian WorldTour teams hunting late season glory in Circuit Franco-Belge

by Ben Atkins at 9:23 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Lotto-Belisol and Omega Pharma-Quick Step both sending big names to the last stage race of the year

andre greipel

Lotto-Belisol and Omega Pharma-Quick Step are both hoping for some late season glory in the final European stage race of the year, as the Circuit Franco-Belge starts in La Louviere, Belgium, tomorrow. The four-day race - which also takes on the handle of “Eurométropole Tour” this season - will be an all-Belgian affair for the second straight year, despite the allusion to France in its title.

Each stage will however, start in the French-speaking part of Belgium - with all start towns situated in the west Wallonie province of Hainaut - and the first three will cross into the Flemish province of West-Vlaanderen; the entire race will stay very close to the French border, without actually crossing it.

“The season is nearly over, but all riders are still very motivated,” said Lotto-Belisol directeur sportif Mario Aerts. “Especially Jürgen Roelandts, after he has ridden such a good world championship. Also André Greipel is very motivated, he might want to take advantage of this race to do a favour in return for Roelandts, who has helped him all year long. Jens Debusschere is in form too, this week he became third in Moorslede. And Kenny Dehaes recently won in Stekene.”

“The second and last stage can be a bit more selective, those could cause some partition of the field,” he continued. “However, Roelandts and Greipel can definitely cope with those stages, so they will be our two leaders for the GC as well. But a stage win is our first aim and then we’ll see how we are ranked in the GC.”

andy fennRoelandts and Greipel will not have things their own way by any means however, with Omega Pharma-Quick Step sending a team that includes sprinters Francesco Chicchi, Andy Fenn, Nikolas Maes, and Gert Steegmans.

"The Circuit Franco-Belge is not going to be an easy race this year,” explained the team’s directeur sportif Rik Van Slycke. "They’re expecting lousy weather with rain and wind; it’s going to be a typical autumnal race. The parcours is tense and the last stage with arrival in Tournai will be decisive for the final classification. The route will have a tough final circuit. The riders will have to scale the Croix Jubaru eight times; this is a challenging incline that will definitely influence the race.

“We’re lining up for the start with athletes who are motivated and eager to give their best. We’re betting on a good result.”

Eurométropole Tour/Circuit Franco-Belge (2.1) September 27th-30th

Stage 1: La Louviere - Menen
Stage 2: Antoing - Poperinge
Stage 3: Péruwelz - Ichtegem
Stage 4: Mons - Tournai

Lotto-Belisol team for Circuit Franco-Belge
Brian Bulgaç, Jens Debusschere, Kenny Dehaes, Maarten Neyens, André Greipel, Jürgen Roelandts, Marcel Sieberg and Mehdi Sohrabi

Omega Pharma-Quick Step team for Circuit Franco-Belge
Francesco Chicchi, Andrew Fenn, Iljo Keisse, Michal Kwiatkowski, Nikolas Maes, Gert Steegmans, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck and Julien Vermote


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