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Sports director Wynants looks back on ‘instructive’ season ahead of CRO Race

Sports director Wynants looks back on ‘instructive’ season ahead of CRO Race

After a year of absence, the CRO Race will take place From 28 September until 3 October. With this stage race Maarten Wynants concludes his first season as a sports director.

The Flemish rider had to switch gears after he had stopped as a pro at the Tour of Flanders. “It was quite a step to leave the Tour of Flanders as a rider and subsequently go to the Giro d’Italia as a sports director. I went there with zero coaching experience. I learned a lot. When I look at how I went to the Vuelta now, I knew much better what to expect. It gave me more peace of mind. In the beginning it was crazy to be in the car instead of on the bike, but I got used to it quickly.”

"It feels natural for me and I think it feels natural for the riders as well"

Maarten Wynants

“I’m on the other side of the table now”, Wynants said of his approach of the riders. “It didn’t feel strange to tell the guys what to do. It’s not that I’m above them now, of course. In the last years I was the cycling coach and now I am the driving coach. It feels natural for me and I think it feels natural for the riders as well.”

The 39-year-old Belgian experienced many exceptional moments. “The Vuelta was fantastic, but I found the Heistse Pijl the most beautiful. That was my first victory as a coach and that race marked the first time I did a race as a coach all by myself. I had to take care of things there. That gave a lot of satisfaction.”

The seventh edition of the CRO Race begins with two hilly stages. However, the riders will encounter the hills far before the finish line, so there are opportunities for the sprinters right away. Stage three is for explosive climbers, followed by another hilly stage for strong sprinters. The fifth day of the race is the toughest, with a mountain of the highest category and short, steep climbs. The last stage to the capital Zagreb is again a stage for fast men.

“We will race open-minded in Croatia”, Wynants says. “It is not a classic course with uphill finishes, so a good position in the classification will be difficult. There are opportunities for Olav Kooij. It is important that he gets his chances with the team and this is an excellent opportunity for that.”

Line-up CRO Race

Tobias Foss

Chris Harper

Lennard Hofstede

Sam Oomen

Olav Kooij

Tim van Dijke

Mick van Dijke

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