There are no roads that breathe more cycling than the Belgian roads. With its short but tough climbs, its cobble sections, its narrow roads that force the riders to ride almost in single file and stretch the peloton. This week, part of the EOLO KOMETA team faces the Baloise Belgium Tour with the illusion of competing in the country of cycling.
It will be for some of them the first competition after the Giro d’Italia, with special mention to Vincenzo Albanese for whom many of the stages will suit him like a glove; Mirco Maestri with the experience and know-how in the complicated Belgian terrain, or Erik Fetter, who hopes to overcome the unwanted goodbye of the Corsa Rosa. From the Netherlands, continuing the racing tour, come Andrea Pietrobon, Javi Serrano and the sprinters David Martín and Giovanni Lonardi.
The race runs from Wednesday to Sunday, with four days on the line and an individual time trial. But already from Tuesday afternoon in Scherpenheuvel, fans will be able to enjoy the team presentation. As for the route, the first day will feature two circuits with two laps of each of them to complete 165 kilometres with 12 climbs and as many others that will also make the first differences.
The second day, on the way to the Belgian beaches of Knokke-Heist, will be the easiest day for a mass sprint with two laps of the final circuit. On Friday, a very flat 15-kilometre time trial for specialists could decide the race. But the 172.6 kilometres with almost 3,000 metres of elevation gain in the purest classics style, with 15 climbs, 3 laps of the circuit and the guarantee of attacks by the strongest riders. To close the Belgium Tour, 194 kilometres with a 2-kilometre pavé section and three final laps that should lead to another sprint.
With options for fast riders, as well as strength on those short and explosive climbs, Vincenzo Albanese certainly appears on the favourites’ lists as a man who could have not only chances, but real options to fight for the race. The EOLO KOMETA squad will accompany his attempts and at the same time he has the options in case of massive arrivals of Lonardi and David Martin. The results are sure to come.
Stefano Zanatta: “It will be a new experience for many of our riders. Racing in Belgium, on demanding roads, with a great resemblance to the great classics, will surely make them grow. Five ZLM Tour riders are coming, with Lonardi and David Martin for the three sprint options. With both Albanese and Erik Fetter we will try to fight for the overall, although this type of race is an unknown because we are not used to it, but the riders are doing well and we will try to maintain the good dynamic of the last two months”.