Lotto-Belisol women preparing for the races of the Belgian spring
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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lotto-Belisol women preparing for the races of the Belgian spring

by Ben Atkins at 5:31 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics
 
Targeting Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Lotto Cup with an eye on the World Cup

marijn de vriesThe Lotto-Belisol women’s team - the sister team to the men's WorldTour ProTeam - is finalising its preparation for the early races in the Belgian calendar with its last training camp of the winter. The team is in Israel, home of recently signed Israeli champion Michal Ella, as it looks ahead to the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on February 23rd, and hopes to do well in the season-opener with its local riders.

An almost complete roster change, with only four of the 2012 team staying on, directeur sportif Dany Schoonbaert is hopeful of a stronger showing this year.

“All our Belgian riders will attend  the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad together with [Dutchwoman] Marijn de Vries [pictured] and the French champion Marion Rousse,” Schoonbaert explained. “We aim for a place in the top three. In the week after the Omloop we will ride two races of the Lotto Cycling Cup. In 2011 Sofie De Vuyst was second in the overall ranking at the end of the season and in 2012 Kaat Hannes did the same.

“It’s time we won it,” he laughed. “The races are very diverse and it is a very nice initiative.”

Although Lotto-Belisol is the largest team in Belgium, it could only manage ninth in the International Cycling Union (UCI) rankings at the end of 2012. Most of the team’s points were achieved by South African champion Ashleigh Moolman, but Schoonbaert expects more from his other riders in 2013.
 
“This year we want to have more than five victories and we want to set good results in the big races, so that some of our ladies can go to the World Championships in Italy,” he explained. “That’s one of the reasons they have to be good in the races of the World Cup.

“With Jolien D’hoore, Kaat Hannes and Marijn de Vries we should be able to perform well in de Ronde van Vlaanderen,” he continued. “And a place on the podium must be possible for Sharon Laws, Carlee Taylor or Ashleigh Moolman in the Flèche Wallonne.

“Last year Ashleigh finished in fifth place,” Schoonbaert continued. “The Giro Donne is also a goal for her. Last year she was tenth in the GC and now she will aim for a higher place.”

Lotto-Belisol women’s team roster 2013
Marijn de Vries (Ned), Jolien D’hoore (Bel), Ann Sophie Duyck (Bel), Michal Ella (Isr), Kaat Hannes (Bel), Sharon Laws (GBr), Steffi Lodewyks (Bel), Ashleigh Moolman (RSA), Marion Rousse (Fra), Kim Schoonbaert (Bel), Carlee Taylor (Aus), Celine Van Severen (Bel).

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