Thor Hushovd confident ahead of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad after Haut Var victory
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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Thor Hushovd confident ahead of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad after Haut Var victory

by Ben Atkins at 9:40 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
 
BMC Racing Team with a number of options for Belgium’s “Openingsweekend”

thor hushovdVictory in the first stage of last weekend’s Tour du Haut Var has given BMC Racing’s Thor Hushovd a boost of confidence as he heads into Saturday’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the traditional opening of the Belgian season. The 2010 World champion endured a torrid 2013 season, failing to win a single race; this was eventually explained by the diagnosis of a muscle inflammation, and he has started the current year fully fit.

"The races this past weekend gave me confidence and I am feeling good," said the Norwegian. "Our team is very strong right now."

Hushovd won the Omloop in 2009 and, assuming he has put his health problems behind him, will start the race as a rider to watch. The 35-year-old will be far from the teams only card to play, however, as it also fields last year’s fifth place Greg Van Avermaet, who has also begun the season in good form.

"It's great to have a strong team and also a few leaders so you can play more than one card in the final," said Van Avermaet. "The team has gotten off a great start and that's motivated everybody."

Van Avermaet was part of the BMC Racing Team that won the team classification in both the Tours of Qatar and Oman; teammates from the middle-eastern races Adam Blythe - who rode just Qatar - Taylor Phinney and Michael Schär will also start Saturday’s Omloop, as well as Italians Daniel Oss and Manuel Quinziato, who rode with Hushovd in Haut Var.

"What I saw at Haut Var leaves me very satisfied where we are and with the condition of the riders," said directeur sportif Fabio Baldato. "We will get the guys together and make a good plan. It's nice to have so many options."

The BMC Racing Team will be unchanged for Sunday’s Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, the second race of the Openingsweekend, with the exception of Hushovd; proving that the former World champion really does prefer cobbles to bunch sprints these days, the Norwegian will be replaced by Swiss rider Danilo Wyss.

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Roster (Feb. 23):
Adam Blythe, Thor Hushovd, Klaas Lodewyck, Daniel Oss, Taylor Phinney, Manuel Quinziato, Michael Schär, Greg Van Avermaet.

Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne Roster (Feb. 24):
Adam Blythe, Klaas Lodewyck, Daniel Oss, Taylor Phinney, Manuel Quinziato, Michael Schär, Greg Van Avermaet, Danilo Wyss.

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