Francis De Greef: "It was a hectic start, after a long battle I could take off. The understanding in the front group wasn't great, according to me the group was too big."
André Greipel: "It's important to ride here in the Tour of Belgium with the guys from my train. In the first stage I aim for the victory."
Gaëtan Bille: "This fifth place is a good result, unfortunately I couldn't win the youth classification, that would have been good for the team."
Lars Bak: "Before this Giro started I picked out five stages that looked good for a breakaway. This was one of them. I had planned to join the breakaway today. Last year the 17th of May I won the stage and I hoped to win again."
Francis De Greef has attacked today in stage 16 of the Giro. The start was given in Valloire in France and finished on Italian soil in Ivrea. Just like Sunday the riders climbed Mont Cenis, but now from the other side. On this climb of first category a front group of 22 riders was formed. This happened in a few attempts. A group of sixteen was joined by four and later two riders. Cisse was part of the last duo.
Unfortunately this escape didn't make it to the finish. At the start of the final climb, with top at 17,5 kilometers from the finish, the escapees were almost all caught, De Greef as well. The rest was reeled in on the climb. The stage was won by Benat intxausti who was the best in a sprint of three. Francis De Greef has climbed two places in GC and is now 21st.
Francis De Greef: "It was a hectic start, after a long battle I could take off. The understanding in the front group wasn't great, according to me the group was too big. Some wanted to spare themselves and others didn't want to go through with those riders, so there wasn't any cooperation. When Katusha and RadioShack started to control the chase they rode à bloc and we didn't stand a chance. At sixty kilometers from the end there were already some attacks and then the cooperation was completely over. You can't react on all attacks and eventually four riders were gone, we were caught about five kilometers from the last climb."
"Then I had to recover for a moment, after 180 kilometers in the escape. Afterwards I could control the damage. It was a gamble to join the escape, but it's possible you stay away and you take five minutes. If I hadn't joined it I would have been less tired in the final and I would have finished two minutes earlier. But I made the best out of it. We have to wait what will happen with the mountain stages, depending on the weather the course might be changed. I hope not, I prefer a tough race with climbing from start to finish."
Tomorrow the Tour of Belgium starts, which ends on Sunday 26th of May. In this race, part of the Europe Tour, we will use the new Lotto Belisol team bus for the first time. André Greipel and Jürgen Roelandts are two of the riders that will be drove around in this bus. They are the two leaders of the team the next five days. The first stage between Lochristi and Knokke-Heist is cut out for sprinters, André's train already rehearsed in the Tour de Picardie and will now have to lead the Gorilla to the victory. Last year Greipel won three stages in this race.
Thursday the Tour of Belgium will go through the Flemish Ardennes, the finish is in Meerbeke, where the Tour of Flanders arrived up till two years ago. The Congoberg and Bosberg will each have to be climbed twice. In this stage Jürgen Roelandts will definitely play a role, he also aims for a good place in GC. Friday a time trial of 15 kilometers is programmed. Then two stages in the Ardennes will follow. Tony Martin, last year's overall winner, will start. Just like Tom Boonen, Fabian Cancellara and Philippe Gilbert.
André Greipel: "It's important to ride here in the Tour of Belgium with the guys from my train. In the first stage I aim for the victory. I expect a hectic final, but I have the best riders with me. The days afterwards we'll see what comes. In the other stages I'll definitely support Jürgen Roelandts where I can, what my role will exactly be depends on the development of the race. I might set the sprint up for him at the intermediate sprints to pick up some bonification seconds. Jürgen has proven he's good on small climbs, so the course suits him."
Jürgen Roelandts: "In the Tour de Picardie I came back after a period of rest, that turned out well. In the first stage of the Tour of Belgium we fully aim for a win with André. Just like the rest of our team, also André is good uphill, that will be handy on the small climbs here. What concerns the GC it will be waiting for the time trial on Friday. Sunday the race will of course be torn apart, but you won't get rid of someone like Fabian Cancellara. We'll see where we end up."
Selection Lotto Belisol: Jens Debusschere, André Greipel, Greg Henderson, Jürgen Roelandts, Marcel Sieberg, Jurgen Van de Walle, Dennis Vanendert and Jelle Vanendert.
The Glava Tour, a five days race in Norway ended today. Between Gjøvik and Hønefoss Maarten Neyens joined a breakaway. The twelve riders didn't get much space. In the final three kilometers Gaëtan Bille joined the escaped Lars Petter Nordhaug, at 500 meters before the finish the two got caught. Norwegian Alexander Kristoff sprinted to his third stage win. His fellow countryman Edvald Boasson Hagen is his own successor to win the GC. In the overall classification Gaëtan Bille finished fifth at 53".
Sander Cordeel showed himself several times in Norway. In stage two he conquered the mountain jersey and wouldn't give it away anymore. He was sure to take it home since yesterday by joining another breakaway and picking up points again. In the Glava Tour Tim Wellens made his comeback after his knee problems, he did it brilliantly. In stage three he was one of the escapees and protected the mountain jersey of Cordeel because Amets Txurruka, number two in that classification, was present in the front group as well. Good teamwork of Lotto Belisol yielded the mountain jersey for Sander Cordeel and a very nice fifth place in the GC with Gaëtan Bille.
Gaëtan Bille: "This fifth place is a good result, unfortunately I couldn't win the youth classification, that would have been good for the team. I finish second in that classification at eight seconds. In the final there was an opportunity to attack and so I did, but we were reeled in a few hundred meters before the finish. I made the jump not only to win the stage, but also to become best youngster and maybe get onto the podium of the GC. I believed in it, but Sky was too strong. It's a beautiful race here in Norway, which I rode for the first time."
Sander Cordeel: "I am definitely happy I could win a prize. In Picardie I felt the condition was good and I wanted to show myself in Norway, but there's a difference between a plan and reality. Luckily everything fell into place. In the second stage I joined a breakaway and two times I arrived first on a climb. The fourth stage I had missed the right escape, but I could bridge the gap and again I took the highest points two times. I only had to finish today, I had the jersey. Tim Wellens protected my jersey in stage three, I was perfectly relax in the peloton and could save my strengths."
Koningshooikt - Van Hool nv, independent constructor of buses, coaches and commercial vehicles, supplies on Friday 17th of May an exceptional version of its coach model TX16 Acron to G&V Energy Group that, as a co-sponsor of the Lotto Belisol cycling team, will offer it as new team bus to the Lotto Belisol team. The completely equipped bus offers all facilities to bring the riders like Jurgen Van den Broeck, Jürgen Roelandts, Jelle Vanendert, André Greipel,... and the staff to the races in ideal conditions.
The Lotto Belisol team bus will be used to transport and support the cycling team and staff in an optimal way in the races which they take part in. That's why this is a made-to-measure version of the TX16 Acron. It offers nine large and comfortable seats for riders and staff and has all the necessary facilities: showers, toilet, a complete kitchen with refrigerator, washing machine and dryer, all modern multimedia and of course a large space to store the bikes. At the outside of the bus there is an extending porch, with info screen. The bus is equipped with a separate power group and satellite reception.
Team manager Marc Sergeant of Lotto Belisol is over the moon with the new team bus: "In contemporary professional cycling at WorldTour level a perfect surrounding is of the utmost importance. A well equipped team bus is indispensable. The Lotto Belisol riders use the team bus daily, as a means of transport, but also to shower, to relax or for team meetings. That Lotto Belisol can use this treasure is a brilliant example of a strong Belgian cooperation between constructor Van Hool, G&V Energy Group as an investor and partner and our team, this pleases me a lot. This bus is good for the image of the team and sponsors."
The team bus will be used for the first time in the Tour of Belgium, which takes place from Wednesday 22nd of May 2013 until Sunday 26th of May 2013. In the off-season the team bus will be also used for promotion actions that will be held by G&V Energy Group.
Apart from big series constructor Van Hool also has a lot of experience with the building and equipment of buses and coaches made-to-measure for specific purposes. Examples are the team buses of top football teams like Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool of the English Premier League, the Suzuki Motorcross Team, the mobile commando base for the fire brigade of Antwerp, television-captation cars, library buses and several tour buses for pop artists.
Van Hool is a Belgian independent constructor of buses, coaches and commercial vehicles. The company, founded in 1947, is located in Koningshooikt (Belgium). The biggest part of the production is for Europe and the US. Van Hool has more than 4000 employees worldwide of which most work in the branches in Koningshooikt and Bree. www.vanhool.be.
G&V Energy Group is an independent Belgium petrol company on the market of petrol stations. G&V Energy Group exploits today through G&V Service Stations about sixty retail stations (mainly automatic petrol stations) and about twenty truck stations at important points of entry on the road and harbours in Belgium. G&V Energy Group has its home base in Kuurne, next to Kortrijk, and has got a branch in the harbour of Roeselare. The gigantic storage capacities in the harbour of Roeselare - good for a buffer of 270 million liters - are apart from the operational stock also for more strategic storage for the Belgian government (apetra). Since 2013 G&V Energy Group is co-sponsor of the Lotto Belisol team. www.g-v.be.
Lotto Belisol is a Belgian WorldTour cycling team with the ambition to play a leading role in international cycling. Through the development of a professional, scientifically founded structure within a long-term vision our riders get the chance to pursue their goals and dreams. Lotto Belisol wants to give specific attention to the development of talent through the U23 team and the ladies team. Thanks to the popularity of cycling our sponsors and fans can be part of cycling on the highest level. www.lottobelisol.be
Yesterday and today the finishing touch is being added to the new Lotto Belisol team bus: the stickers. For that the team entered into a partnership last year with the young Belgian company Printhings with its home base in Temse, East-Flanders. Printhings was founded in 2011 and this partnership immediately was a good investment for its reputation. This company has put stickers on the whole fleet of the team. They also took care of the vehicles of the ladies' and U23 team.
The team bus will be delivered this Friday and will be used for the first time during the Tour of Belgium, which starts Wednesday 22nd of May. Sjef De Peijper, manager at Printhings, tells us about this final phase in the building of the new Lotto Belisol bus.
Sjef De Peijper, manager at Printhings: "The team gives us the graphics, designed on a technical drawing of the vehicle. This simulation gives each party a nice idea of the overall picture. Then the simulation has to be severely controlled on technical and esthetical problems. We look if the logos aren't too close to the edges or if open doors hide certain logos. Technically it's important to know the features of the used foil. When everything is okay for us, the design is sent to the team and sponsors for approval. After they agree we start printing."
"Last week we printed the whole bus, divided in different panels. Some panels were up to fifteen meters long. When you print such long panels of course nothing may go wrong. That's why we also handle our machines with lots of care to deliver the best quality as possible."
"For this project we work with high-quality ‘Car Wrap foil' of our partner 3M. This makes it possible to perfectly put the foil on difficult shapes. We let the printed foil dry for 24 hours and then we laminate it with a 3M laminate for protection. This combination of high-quality materials makes sure that we can guarantee the colors will keep and it is durable. On the windows we work with a special ‘One Way Vision' foil. That way the riders can look from the inside to the outside while the design continues on the outside. All this foil has been cut and sorted, so Tuesday and Wednesday four specialists can put on all the foil on the bus."
"Our engagement with Lotto Belisol dates from last year, just after our foundation in 2011. As a young company we decided to invest in a big cycling team like Lotto Belisol to increase our reputation, that has turned out to be a good choice. This cooperation is nice for our image and of course it gives us other opportunities."
On Saturday 1st of June you can participate for the second year in a row in the Belisolpijl! This in the presence of some of our riders and staff, among them André Greipel. Three tour rides are offered (25km, 75km and 105km) with start in Roeselare. You can start the family tour ride of 25 kilometers between 10h and 11h30, the other two routes between 7h30 and 10h. During the two longest rides there will be a feed zone. Participating costs five euros, this is completely for vzw OK, Ontspanning & Ontmoeting Kanker. This organizations is now restoring a building in which they want to invite people with cancer and those who take care of them.
On the 1st of June there will also be a tombola, of which the profits will also go to vzw OK, Ontspanning & Ontmoeting Kanker. You can win a Ridley race bike, Lazer glasses and helmets and several other prizes. We advise you to register beforehand for the Belisolpijl, because the number of participants is limited. Those who register beforehand get a goodie bag, with a Belisol bidon and a drink voucher among it. Also the kids are welcome.
Register immediately for this event, which is insured by our partner Callant Verzekeringen, which is known for its bike omnium. So go to http://www.belisolpijl.be/2013/schrijf-je-nu-in and register now!