The five-day Tour de Luxembourg sees IPT’s six riders take on a varied parcours, including three hillier stages, a flat stage and an individual time trial. Israel – Premier Tech come into the race targeting stage wins and a strong overall result, with a strong all-round team.
The Tour de Luxembourg organisers wasted no time in creating the potential for exciting racing, with a punchy uphill finish on stage 1, which could come down to a sprint, but also could be an opportunity to create a gap. The time trial on stage four may prove to be decisive, with a climb in the middle before a fast descent to the line, but if the the GC is still open coming into the final stage, the punchy parcours could also provide the perfect launchpad to attack and take back time. The rolling and varied terrain, therefore, creates an unpredictable five days of racing.
Lining up at what is almost his home race, Jakob Fuglsang is excited to be racing in Luxembourg. “Luxembourg is like a second home for me, and having won this race before, I’m pretty optimistic,” says Fuglsang. Following his strong performance at this weekend’s Super8 Classic where he finished fifth, initiating the winning move and staying with the strongest riders of the race to contest the sprint at the line, he hopes to bring this form to Luxembourg. “I know it’s going to be very difficult to win, especially with the long time trial on stage four,” Fuglsang explains, “but with my form finally coming back nicely, I’ll give it everything and do my best to get a good result in the General Classification.”
Also joining Fuglsang is Michael Woods, who won a stage at this year’s Tour de France, and has returned from a block of racing in North America. “My goal at this race isn’t the General Classification, especially with the time trial, but I just want to play an aggressive role and try and use this as preparation for my final big goals of the year, which are the Italian Classics,” admits Woods. Woods is also looking forward to helping the team deliver a good result. “Whilst I’d like to get a stage win, I want to help Corbin Strong, Dylan Teuns and Jakob Fuglsang in their hunt for stage wins or the General Classification. I’m just excited to get back in the mix and race aggressively.”
Sports Director Oscar Guerrero is optimistic for a strong result for the squad. “We’ve come with a very strong team. We want to fight for the best possible position on the General Classification, and we have some good climbers like Michael Woods, Jakob Fuglsang and Dylan Teuns, so they can do well on the really hard finish of stage three. We know we have the long TT on stage four, which doesn’t really suit us, so we will see what the situation is after that, and try to keep our options open.”
For the DS, the first chance of success for the team comes on day one, as this is a finish which suits both Corbin Strong if it comes to a sprint, but also Dylan Teuns and Krists Neilands if there are attacks towards the end. “The first stage is a super good final for Corbin, as it will be too hard for some sprinters, so fast guys who can climb, like Corbin, can have a real chance there. And you never know how the first stage will be, if there are attacks, Teuns and Neilands also have a good chance as well.”
Israel – Premier Tech at the Skoda Tour de Luxembourg:
Jakob Fuglsang (DEN), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Michael Woods (CAN), Corbin Strong (NZL), Hugo Houle (CAN), Krists Neilands (LAT).
Oscar Guerrero (ESP)