The Eurometropole Tour (Franco-Belge in the past) is the last stage race on Belgian soil of this season. The four day stage race (Europe Tour 2.1) starts on Thursday and goes through the provinces of Hainaut and West Flanders.
Several sprinters are starting the Eurometropool. Kittel, Démare, Nizzolo and Bos are some of the sprinters that will be striving in the last straight hectometers towards the finish line. It looks like the fast riders will be contending for the yellow leader jersey. The first two stages are going respectively through the Flemish Ardennes and the Heuvelland, but the hilly sections are far away from the finish line so the possible decimation could be undone or the escapees could be controlled. The finish of the first stage is slightly uphill in Bellegem, a village in the municipal of Kortrijk.
Sports director Kurt Van de Wouwer: "Lotto Belisol won the past two editions with Jens Debusschere (2013) and Jürgen Roelandts (2012). Obviously we are also going to take our responsibility this year. I'm expecting that the opening stage will decisive for the GC. The first stage won't be controlled by one team and will be more open. From day two the race will be controlled by the team of leader and they will try to keep the leader jersey until Sunday. The route is orientated towards the coast, with finishes in Middelkerke and Nieuwpoort. Naturally there will be a lot of sprints and maybe the wind could play a big role. With Jens Debusschere we've got the last winner and the reigning Belgian champion in our team. Although Jonas Vangenechten proved to be in good shape the last few months."
After the signing of Tiesj Benoot and Thomas De Gendt, Lotto Belisol ads a third name to list of incoming transfers: Jasper De Buyst. He signed a contract for two years and makes the transfer from Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise. The talented rider from Flemish Brabant will ride a program on the track, as preparation for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro 2016, combined with races on the road.
Jasper De Buyst: "Going from a ProContinental team to a WorldTour team is the dream of every rider. The last past years it all went very fast (De Buyst is only 21), but I do not regret that. Sometimes it was hard, but it made me stronger. My new team is participating in bigger races and points out a nicer program. Every young rider is looking forward to such a thing."
"The goal is to prepare myself the coming years towards the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro 2016. After the Olympics I shall concentrate myself on road races. The overwhelming experience of last Olympics (De Buyst was selected but didn't came to action), will certainly be an advantage. The omnium will be the big goal. Of course I will ride road races, just like my time in the Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise team. A good planning is the most important part of combining those two. And in that period I can learn where my possibilities are on the road."
"In the winter I will be riding six days. The Lotto Six Days Flanders-Ghent will be part of my schedule, complemented with some other six day races. Last year I won in Ghent and I hope to be strong there again."
Jasper De Buyst:
Lars Bak (34) has extended his contract with Lotto Belisol for two more years. In that way he will stay with the Lotto Belisol team, which will be named Lotto Soudal next year, until the end of 2016. The past three seasons Bak already rode for our team.
Injuries interfered his spring season in 2012 and 2013, instead he rode both Giro and Tour. His biggest victory was one in the Giro of 2012. He finished alone after a solo in Sestri Levante. In the Tour he was luxury help for Jurgen Van den Broeck and André Greipel. Last summer he did hundreds of kilometers in support of the leading man.
Lars Bak: "I'm very happy to stay with this team for next years. I had a good feeling in the team for the past seasons. I always try to do my job in favour of the team and there is a good atmosphere in the Lotto Belisol team. As a foreigner it's a joy to be a part of this team. The Belgian employees have a lot of experience and make sure that the riders can performance in a optimal way. I feel myself at home in this team."
"I presume I got this contract extension thanks to my way of cycling, because I always try to think at the importance of the team. The team management probably knows after three years how to set me in. I will give it all to play my role in the team as good as possible for the next two years."
Ridley unveils new Noah SL at Eurobike
The Noah SL is all about speed and performance. It's racing heritage, combined with superior aerodynamic technology and beautiful design sets a new benchmark in the aero category. It stays true to the Ridley form-follows-function design principle where every detail has been studied and tested to reach ultimate performance. The Lotto Belisol riders wanted an all-round aerodynamic frame that is also light, Ridley provided the Noah SL.
André Greipel: "There is a very good communication with Ridley Bikes. I have a close contact with them, so we can exchange ideas. They want to supply us with the best material and we can make suggestions. I suggested an adjustable seat post, to easily change the height, that's also positive for the buyers. It's important that Ridley Bikes supports us. There's a constant evolution in the bike world, so you need the best engineers. At Ridley Bikes they are always looking for innovations to make the bikes even better."
"As a rider I appreciate that Ridley Bikes takes our advice to heart. The good relationship between the riders and Ridley Bikes is necessary for the future. The Noah SL is the next step in the development. I already did a training with the Noah SL and a first impression never deceives. The frame looks good and is lighter. It's also stiff, which is very important. This is a fast bike. I'm looking forward to race with it."
F-Split fork (patented)
In-mould F-Surface (patented)
Dropped aero seatstays
Wheel- & Tire clearance
Watch the launch video with Boris Vallée: http://youtu.be/KSIX5nWH1_Y
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