Lotto – Belisol says it is passing up Tours of Qatar and Oman
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Friday, December 28, 2012

Lotto – Belisol says it is passing up Tours of Qatar and Oman

by VeloNation Press at 1:11 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Belgian team outlines early-season programme

Andre GreipelChoosing an earlier start to the season than in 2013 and omitting a couple of big events, the Lotto Belisol squad has outlined the path it will take towards the Classics in the weeks ahead.

The Belgian team will begin racing on January 14th in the Tropicale Amissa Bongo in Gabon, with another selection of riders competing in the Tour de San Luis in Argentina from January 21st to 27th, and a third in the People’s Choice Classic on January 20th and then the Santos Tour Down Under two days later.

Riders in Europe will contest the GP Cycliste La Marseillaise prior to the Etoile de Bessèges stage race, starting January 30th.

“The Tour Down Under, a WorldTour race, is a certainty,” said sporting manager Marc Sergeant. “Ten years ago it was an adventure to go to Australia during the preparation, but now it is logical for guys like Greipel and Roelandts.”

He said that the team had opted against competing in two of ASO’s big early season races. “We won’t ride The Tour of Qatar or Oman, but we might go back in the future,” Sergeant explained. “The organization asks to come with a strong roster, but last year we noticed that riding Qatar and possibly Oman too right away after the Tour Down Under is a bit too much. Several of those guys got ill in Paris-Nice.”

The team’s big stage race rider, Jurgen Van den Broeck, has decided to get his year underway in the Tour de San Luis. He was fourth in the 2012 Tour de France and knows that he could target a podium place in the 2013 race providing that his buildup is right. He will seek to go well in Argentina and then keep adding to his form from that point on.

Looking beyond the initial programme, Sergeant said that there was a little uncertainty about the programme after the end of January.

“We have to see what comes next, partly because of the crisis in Spain and Portugal,” he stated. “The Trofeo Mallorca is now four days long instead of two, and a training camp will follow for those who race on the island.

“Normally we also participate in the Tour of the Mediterranean, and also those riders will go to training camp in Mallorca, because it is very uncertain that the Tour of the Algarve and the Ruta del Sol will take place, so we have to anticipate a possible period without competition before the Flemish opening weekend.”

Lotto Belisol’s early-season racing programme:

January 14th to 20th of January: Tropicale Amissa Bongo (Gabon)
January 21st to 27th of January: Tour de San Luis (Argentina)
January 20th: People’s Choice Classic (Australia)
January 22nd to 27th of January: Tour Down Under (Australia)
January 27th of January: GP Cycliste La Marseillaise (France)
January 30th of January to 3rd of February: Etoile de Bessèges (France)

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