Three sprint opportunities
The stage on Thursday offers opportunities to the sprinters. The riders can explore the finish, because the route consists of a few loops and the peloton will pass the finish line three times before they strive for the victory. On Friday Buchten is the hosting town for both start and finish. On the route there are some climbs known from the Amstel Gold Race, with top of the bill the Cauberg. Furthermore the riders have also the Bemelerberg, Loorberg, Camerig, Gulperberg and Eyserbosweg to cover. The last climb is about 100 kilometers from the finish. With 100 kilometers to go the route is still hilly but the last twenty kilometers, with two local laps, are flat. So also this stage could end in a bunch sprint.
On the penultimate day the Ster ZLM Toer visits Belgium, with a stage from Verviers to Jalhay. Among other La Redoute and Le Rosier have to be covered. At the end there are two local laps. The finish line is uphill. The final stage from Gerwen to Boxtel again suits the sprinters’ demands. Lotto Belisol starts with sprint canon André Greipel. Tim Wellens could strive for a good GC. Other participants in the Ster ZLM Toer are among other Theo Bos, Tyler Farrar, Marcel Kittel and Philippe Gilbert.
The goals of Lotto Belisol
Bart Leysen, sports director: “The past stage races André Greipel won at least one stage: the first stage in the World Ports Classic, the fourth in the Baloise Belgium Tour, and the first and fourth stage in the Tour of Luxembourg. Last year we didn’t manage to win a stage in the Ster ZLM Toer because of several circumstances, this year we hope to turn the odds in our favour. Marcel Kittel is also at the starting grid, he will aim for a stage win as well. But there are three chances to get a bunch sprint: Thursday, Friday and Sunday.”
“If we win a stage with André Greipel our Ster ZLM Toer would be a success. A second goal is a good GC for Tim Wellens. This starts with a good prologue and the stage to Jalhay is crucial. Provided that his prologue is good in addition to some bonification seconds, André Greipel could end up high in the GC as well. Last year he was still in the first group in Jalhay and ended second in the overall standings.”
Lotto Belisol selection: Lars Bak, Sean De Bie, Jens Debusschere, André Greipel, Adam Hansen, Greg Henderson, Marcel Sieberg and Tim Wellens.
Sports directors: Bart Leysen and Marc Wauters.
Stage 1: Wednesday 18th of June: Bladel – Bladel (7 km) (prologue)
Stage 2: Thursday 19th of June: Rucphen – Sint-Willebrord (183.9 km)
Stage 3: Friday 20th of June: Buchten – Buchten (190.5 km)
Stage 4: Saturday 21st of June: Verviers – La Gileppe (Jalhay) (186.7 km)
Stage 5: Sunday 22nd of June: Gerwen – Boxtel (173.7 km).