HTC-Columbia is ready for the start of the Belgian classics
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Friday, February 26, 2010

HTC-Columbia is ready for the start of the Belgian classics

by Neil Browne at 2:29 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics

This weekend is the start of the Belgian classics season and Columbia-HTC is ready to contest both Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.

As expected during this time of year the weather will be a factor in these races.

"There's some windy, wet weather forecast, so it's going to be a tough two days," commented HTC-Columbia's sports director Allan Peiper. "The courses are pretty much the same, but the roads are in a poor state because of the freezing weather we've had all winter, and that'll make it even harder.”

A few Columbia-HTC riders, like 29 year old Austrian Bernhard Eisel, already have some races in their legs.

“Bernie [Bernhard Eisel] has had a good block of racing, from the Tour Down Under through to Qatar and Oman, so he's very ready for this weekend. And Marcel Sieberg and Martin Velits are both good for this kind of racing."

"We've checked out the courses both for Het Nieuwsblad and for the Tour of Flanders this week, so the riders have had enough time to adapt to the conditions and know what they're going to face.”

Peiper is expecting a field sprint finish for Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and doesn't pick a favorite for victory. Instead he's relying on how the riders feel each day.

“Kuurne is more suited to the sprinters, but you have to make a choice between one race or the other, it's not possible to go all out in both. So we'll see who's good on which day and take it from there."

Interestingly Eisel, who was second behind two time winner Tom Boonen in last year's Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, is not listed on the team's roster for that race. Instead he is only racing Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

American Tejay van Garderen is making his Belgian classic debut in HTC-Columbia colors at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Van Garderen finished in ninth place on the final general classification at the recent Volta ao Algarve, so it looks like his form is there for a solid performance.

HTC-Columbia for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad:
Lars Bak (Den); Gert Dockx (Bel); Bernhard Eisel (Aut); Matt Goss (Aus); Vicente Reynes (Spa); Marcel Sieberg (Ger); Tejay Van Garderen (USA); Martin Velits (Svk).

HTC-Columbia for Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne:
Lars Bak (Den); Gert Dockx (Bel); Jan Ghyselinck (Bel); Adam Hansen (Aus); Vicente Reynes (Spa); Hayden Roulston (NZ); Marcel Sieberg (Ger); Martin Velits (Svk).


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