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
The Lotto Belisol squad is led by Tony Gallopin and Jurgen Van den Broeck. Bart De Clercq and Jelle Vanendert won’t ride on Wednesday yet. They prepare for the upcoming races. Tim Wellens is sick and won’t start.
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
“I’m convinced we have to race offensively. Only that way we can strive for a good result. Men like Ligthart or Van der Sande can early open up the real race. When someone of us is part of the break Gallopin and Van den Broeck can keep quiet in the peloton and the team then doesn’t have any pressure.”
“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