Kooij ninth on first stage ZLM Tour
Surprisingly, the first bunch sprint of the ZLM Tour did not take place. Olav Ko...
Team Jumbo-Visma faces an important cycling weekend in Flanders. With the E3 Saxo Classic on Friday and Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday, the squad aims to be successful twice. Returning to the Flemish roads, Wout van Aert looks forward to the two races along with Tiesj Benoot and Dylan van Baarle.
The E3 Saxo Classic is Van Aert's first race of the season in Belgium. The 28-year-old rider of Team Jumbo-Visma began his season at Tirreno-Adriatico and finished third at Milan-Sanremo last Saturday. "I felt great that day. I was among the four best riders in the race. The third place gave me the confirmation I needed for these classics."
"Four or five riders from our team can win the race"
The leader, who won the race last year, is confident about the team's chances in the upcoming races. "We have to be confident. On Friday, I will ride with Tiesj and Dylan, two teammates who have already excelled at the opening weekend. We have four or five riders who can win. With this selection, we have to ride the race our way, and we can do our own thing. I'm looking forward to that. The races I enjoy riding the most are in the upcoming period."
Following his victory in Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, Benoot has continued riding with a good feeling. "I have confidence after the excellent opening weekend and my performance in Strade Bianche. I also felt fresh after Tirreno-Adriatico. The upcoming races are all a target for me. The E3 Saxo Classic will be a tough race, like every year. There will be points where we have to take control of the race. From there, we will see who remains."
"Only victory counts"
Dylan van Baarle will return to racing on Friday. The 30-year-old winner of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad took a break after Tirreno-Adriatico to recover from physical discomfort. "Everything is fine now. After Tirreno-Adriatico, I was able to recover by getting some rest. I needed it." According to Van Baarle, only victory counts. "We have such a strong team. We have to go for the win and nothing else. The important thing is to get back into a favourable situation, then we'll see who has the legs to attack."
Sunday will bring another challenging race with Ghent-Wevelgem. Wout van Aert, Christophe Laporte and Nathan Van Hooydonck will ride both races. See the selections below.
Wout van Aert, Christophe Laporte, Tiesj Benoot, Dylan van Baarle, Edoardo Affini, Tosh Van der Sande, Nathan Van Hooydonck
Wout van Aert, Christophe Laporte, Olav Kooij, Timo Roosen, Tim van Dijke, Jos van Emden, Nathan Van Hooydonck