Five stages in the Netherlands, even riding below sea level in the famous “polders”, areas reclaimed from the ocean to make the country grow and on which a race reserved for riders and sprinters will start.
The ZLM Tour kicks off on Wednesday with a 6.6 kilometre prologue in Heinkenszand in the afternoon. This will be an intense first contact with the race, which will be followed by the 203 kilometres between Westkapelle and ‘s-Heerenhoek. Watch out for the areas along the canals and the long viaducts linking the “polders”, as the wind will play its part before the always tricky final circuit with two laps.
The second online stage moves east between Schijndel and Buchten, over 184 kilometres of almost completely flat terrain, concluding between the Belgian and German borders with three laps of the final circuit. The third day will be in Roosendaal over 194 kilometres with a cobble section and two laps of the final circuit and the fourth day in Oosterhout with three laps of the decisive circuit for a total of 158 kilometres. Both days will likely end on a mass sprint to decide the overall winner of the ZLM Tour.
Not only the wind and speed will mark a race in which the complicated circuits, through urban areas, often cause tension and force a front position in all that decisive part for those who want to dispute the stage victory. Aware of this, EOLO KOMETA is calling on its fastest and powerfull cyclists, with special mention to the young Javi Serrano, the strong Andrea Pietrobon, the sprinters Giovanni Lonardi, David Martín and Simone Bevilacqua, the skilful Mattia Bais and as road captain the experienced Samuele Rivi.
David Martin: “I’m really, really looking forward to this race. ZLM Tour suits me very well. I will try to get the best possible results. In Hungary I saw that I could be in the fight and that has given me a lot of morale. We’re going to give everything, but it’s a dangerous race because of the wind and the sprints will be amongst smaller groups. That motivates me because the positioning in the bunch and the power in the final metres will allow me to have more options”.
Biagio Conte: “We are going to the race with riders who come from resting for the most part and who have skills on the flat and also speed for the sprints. ZLM Tour is not a complicated race, the main difficulty will be the wind and I hope we know how to guide the guys to try to avoid the moments of echelons or danger of breaking the peloton. I hope to keep that attitude of riding together and giving the image of a team, protecting the fast riders and having options in the mass finishes. We have a young squad but also very experienced riders like Rivi. We are in high morale after the Giro d’Italia and I’m sure we will do well”.