Sunday the first of three consecutive WorldTour climb classics takes place: the Amstel Gold Race. The start of the 251.1 kilometers long race is given in Maastricht. After 54 kilometers there's the first of four passages on the Cauberg. By then already five hills will have been covered. There are 34 climbs in total on the route, that make about 4000 height meters. The Cauberg returns at 88 and 20 kilometers from the end. After the penultimate ascent the Geulhemmerberg and Bemelerberg are next. Finally the riders have to get over the Cauberg one more time. Since last year the finish lies 1.8 kilometers after the top.
Lotto Belisol goes to the Amstel with a strong team, with men like Bart De Clercq, Tony Gallopin, Jurgen Van den Broeck and Jelle Vanendert. Dutchman Pim Ligthart can also show himself in the only WorldTour one day race of his home country. The riders that will battle with them on the way to Valkenburg for the victory in the 49th Amstel Gold Race are first of all last year's winner Roman Kreuziger and Philippe Gilbert, who was the best in 2010 and 2011. Also Alejandro Valverde and Joaquim Rodriguez will stand at the start.
Better than last year
The course suits me
Podium as a goal
Selection Lotto Belisol: Bart De Clercq, Tony Gallopin, Pim Ligthart, Jurgen Van den Broeck, Tosh Van der Sande, Dennis Vanendert, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens.
Sports directors: Herman Frison and Bart Leysen.
Philippe Gilbert has won the Brabantse Pijl today. He sprinted faster than Michael Matthews in Overijse. Tony Gallopin took a nice third place. Early in the race six riders got in the lead: Quemeneur, Pozzo, Brandle, Cecchinel, Williams and Reijnen. They got a maximal advantage of six and a half minute.
The cobblestone classics are over. Now it's up to the climbers in the peloton. With the Brabantse Pijl on Wednesday the second part of the cycling spring starts. The Brabantse Pijl starts in Leuven and finishes in Overijse after 203 kilometers. First the riders get 133 kilometers with eleven hills. The most known hills of that part are no doubt the Bruine Put and Alsemberg.
When the riders pass the finish in Overijse for the first time, three laps of just over 24 kilometers are yet to be covered. In those local laps they have to ride over five more hills, among other the IJskelderlaan and Hagaard. The last climb before the finish, the Schavei, is 700 meters long and has an average gradient of 5.6%.
Last year Peter Sagan won, he's not participating now. Philippe Gilbert will start, the number two of 2013. Also Thomas Voeckler, Simon Gerrans and Wout Poels belong to the top favourites.
No race yet for De Clercq
Bart Leysen, sports director: "When will I be satisfied? We have a team that's good uphill. Considering the qualities of our men we aim for a podium place. Some guys have just returned for the Vuelta al País Vasco. The question is if they will have recovered enough. Tony Gallopin is the one who ought to be the most fresh physically. But as I said, we have other strong riders in the team."
We have to race offensively
"The past has shown the decision usually is made in the local laps. I expect that won't be different this year. It will be an elimination race again in which every climb at the end will hurt. That's why it's important we have a guy in front."
Selection Lotto Belisol: Sander Armée, Kris Boeckmans, Sean De Bie, Tony Gallopin, Pim Ligthart, Jurgen Van den Broeck, Tosh Van der Sande, Dennis Vanendert
Sports director: Bart Leysen
Last Wednesday the heart's desire of the 18-year-old Steven from Turnhout was fulfilled, thanks to Make-A-Wish and in cooperation with Lotto Belisol. Steven has mucoviscidose, but it's his big dream to climb a mountain with a real race bike. Steven was invited by Lotto Belisol on the occasion of the Brabantse Pijl. Annelies Van Soom is part of the wish team of Make-A-Wish and helped to fulfill the dream of Steven.
Jurgen Van den Broeck gave a cycling outfit
Visit to Ridley Bikes
It's all about the child
Lotto Belisol supports Make-A-Wish
About Make-A-Wish®: this organization of volunteers grants children, aged between 3 and 18 who are living with a life-threatening illness, their fondest wishes. Our intention is to give these children and their families an unforgettable moment in the midst of all their worries, doubts, despair and sorrow. Away from clinics, doctors and treatments we wish to give them courage for the uncertain future which lies ahead. http://www.makeawish.be/
Participate in the Belisolpijl in Roeselare on Monday 21st of April and come to the Lotto Belisol fan day afterwards! An ideal outing on Easter Monday.
For the third year in a row the Belisolpijl is being organized. You can participate in one of the three tours, together with some of the Lotto Belisol riders! There's a family tour of 25 kilometers, which you can start between 10:00 and 11:30. The rides of 75 and 105 kilometers can be started from 7:30 till 10:00. Our riders leave at about 9:30. Taking part in one of the tours costs 5 euro. The proceeds of the Belisolpijl go to Make a Wish, the good cause Lotto Belisol supports this year. If you register for the Belisolpijl beforehand you get a Lotto Belisol gift!
After your ride you can come and visit the Lotto Belisol fan day where everybody is welcome as of 9:00. Meet among other Maxime Monfort, Jürgen Roelandts, Jens Debusschere and Kenny Dehaes. You can take a look in the team bus, truck and team cars.
Do you want a photo with one of the riders, have a bite to eat at the pasta bar or drink something on the terrace, then definitely come visit us!
Register for the Belisolpijl: http://www.belisolpijl.be/2014/schrijf-in-voor-de-belisolpijl-2014
Surf to the website of the fan day: http://www.fandaylottobelisol.be/
Place to be: Belisol magazijn, Liebeekstraat 10 - 8800 Roeselare
Lotto Belisol partner and insurance company Callant Verzekeringen launches a new service: the bike assistance. People with an electric bike go further away from home, but in case of bad luck or an accident you often can't repair the bike yourself. That's why there is the bike assistance of Callant!
Filip Demyttenaere, Callant Verzekeringen: "Someone who has bad luck along his route, has an accident or if the bike gets stolen and you can't continue your ride, you can contact us. That's why we extend our service. Next to the bike omnium we also want to offer assistance in case of bad luck, accident or theft. A reliable network of assistants is ready to help. The bike will be made ready on the spot to continue your ride. If that's not possible the bike and cyclist are brought back to the start place. That can be home or the car. The new service is offered in Belgium and even up to 15 kilometers outside of the borders."
More info: www.callant-fietsbijstand.be