Israel – Premier Tech will take on the Belgian ‘Opening Weekend’ with a strong and motivated group of riders, eager to put their mark on the two races.
“I’m confident that we have strong lineups for both races this weekend. I really believe in this group”, sports director Dirk Demol says.
Saturday’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad symbolizes the start of the Spring Classics season with the peloton tackling many of the famous hills and cobble sections in Flanders. IPT’s designated leader will be Sep Vanmarcke, who won this race in 2012 and placed third two years ago.
“I have a good connection with this race”, Vanmarcke tells. “I have won it in the past and I’ve also been on the podium several times. Hopefully, I can race at the front again on Saturday. Unfortunately, I got sick in Vuelta a Andalucía and I lost a few days of training, but I’m already feeling better again. I hope it’s enough and that I can to be up there fighting with the best this weekend.”
For Sunday’s Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, IPT will add sprint firepower in the shape of Giacomo Nizzolo who finished second in the race in 2020 and fifth last year. Nizzolo has already been close in the bunch sprints this season and now, the Italian is looking forward to digging deep again.
“I feel my shape is improving”, Nizzolo explains. “This is always a challenging race and you never really know if you have to race it as a sprinter or as a Classics rider. You may have to attack and invest a lot or you can wait for the final sprint. It will be interesting to see what happens this year. In any case, I feel good and I’m looking forward to racing!”
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad: Guillaume Boivin, Reto Hollenstein, Krists Neilands, Jens Reynders, Guy Sagiv, Tom Van Asbroeck, Sep Vanmarcke.
Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne: Guillaume Boivin, Giacomo Nizzolo, Jens Reynders, Guy Sagiv, Tom Van Asbroeck, Sep Vanmarcke, Rick Zabel.