Sep Vanmarcke’s time to harvest has arrived as the spring classics start this weekend. The robust Belgian Team LottoNL-Jumbo rider hopes to kick off his campaign with good results in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.
“I’ve been able to prepare myself properly in the Volta ao Algarve,” Vanmarcke said. “It was a perfect race. The weather was great and the course tough. I even made it into a breakaway one day. I purposely dropped out after a while, so that I could get in the mix in the final, as well. I was specifically training for the classics.”
Vanmarcke knows what awaits him. “The Omloop and Kuurne are two completely different races. The Omloop is an open race, which often sees many attacks. The strongest rider doesn’t always win because of the tactical battle.
“Kuurne often ends in a sprint. I hope for bad weather on Sunday so that it will be a real race. My most important races are scheduled later, but I feel that I’m going to be good this weekend. I’m ready.”
“Sep is our man for the classics,” Sports Director Nico Verhoeven said. “He looked strong in the Algarve, and he’s surrounded by a group of riders that can support him very well.”
Vanmarcke won the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in 2012. “And last year he finished fourth”, Verhoeven recalled. “We aim for the best possible result. Obviously, that’s winning, but last Sunday we were also pleased with Tom Van Asbroeck’s second place in the Algarve, for example. For us, that was the best result possible at that moment. As a team, we’re going to make sure that Sep can ride the best race possible.”
Tom Van Asbroeck is more than ready to assist his compatriot and teammate in the Omloop. “Sep worked extremely hard for me in the Volta ao Algarve,” said the Belgian, who ended the Portuguese stage race with a second place in Sunday’s final stage. “I want to repay him this weekend, for everything he did for me.”
Hofland & Kuurne
Moreno Hofland crossed the line in second place last year in Kuurne, behind Tom Boonen. The young Dutchman is confident for Sunday after the Ruta del Sol.
“I count on wind and rain and expect some real racing in the hilly zone. I hope to make it into the final with a few of my teammates. I obviously hope to fight for victory again.”
Verhoeven knows what makes his team a contender in Kuurne. “We have several riders who can join the battle for the win. With Tom and Moreno, we have two fast men, while Sep knows how to handle a hard race.”
Team line-up Omloop Het Nieuwsblad:
Tom van Asbroeck, Jos van Emden, Tom Leezer, Bram Tankink, Maarten Tjallingii, Sep Vanmarcke, Robert Wagner and Maarten Wynants.
Jan Boven and Nico Verhoeven.