The first stage takes the peloton from De Panne to Zottegem. The riders have to get over among other the Leberg and Eikenmolen. Once arrived in Zottegem they will have to cover two laps of about 41 kilometers in the Flemish Ardennes. A day later the East-Flemish city Zottegem is the start place and via Heuvelland it goes to the finish in Koksijde.
On the last day two stages are planned. First a short morning stage with start and finish in De Panne. In the afternoon there’s an individual time trial of over fourteen kilometers.
This Three Days of De Panne is cut out for the sprinters. Mark Cavendish, Peter Sagan and Marcel Kittel are the men to keep an eye on. We look ahead with sports director Bart Leysen.
Bart Leysen, sports director: “With what ambition we go to De Panne? We have a few fast men in the team, like Kenny Dehaes. They can definitely take their place in a bunch sprint. Also Pim Ligthart gets an important role in our team. If he could join a break which makes it to the finish line in the first stage, he has a chance to win. That way he could lay the groundwork for the GC as well.”
“When we race along the coast we know beforehand that there’s a big chance for echelons. When there’s a tailwind we have to see we are positioned well in the front and are part of the first group otherwise we have to chase.”
“There are many top sprinters at the start this year. It’s easier for us that some teams have a sprinter. That way we can control the race together with other teams and that way we don’t have to carry the weight of the race on our own.”
Selection Lotto Belisol: Kris Boeckmans, Vegard Breen, Sean De Bie, Kenny Dehaes, Pim Ligthart, Jonas Van Genechten and Frederik Willems.
Sports directors: Jean-Pierre Heynderickx and Bart Leysen.
Stage 1: Tuesday 1st of April: De Panne – Zottegem (201km)
Stage 2: Wednesday 2nd of April: Zottegem – Koksijde (206km)
Stage 3a: Thursday 3rd of April: De Panne – De Panne (109,7km)
Stage 3b: Thursday 3rd of April : De Panne – De Panne (14,3km) (ITT)