Israel – Premier Tech is taking on the Belgian ‘Opening Weekend’ with a strong group of riders, eager to put their mark on the two races.

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. Amongst the leaders of the IPT squad is Sep Vanmarcke, who won this race 10 years ago, and placed third last year.

“Every year, it’s nice to come back to the race where, 10 years ago, my career took a big step forward. It’s a hard Classic, one where you don’t know yet who is really good and who is not”, said the 33-year-old Belgian.

In addition to Vanmarcke, the team also has Simon Clarke on the start line. The in-shape Australian has had a strong start to the season with podiums in Mallorca and Vuelta a Andalucía within the last month of racing.

“I’m confident that we’re bringing a really good team to these races”, sports director Dirk Demol explained. “We all know that the level here is super high and it’s going to be hard racing both days. We have a lot of experience in our team and we have multiple riders able to fight for a good result. With the guys we are lining up with this weekend, I expect us to be in the game both Saturday and Sunday. We are really looking forward to these races!”

For Sunday’s Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne, the team will add sprint firepower in the shape of Giacomo Nizzolo who finished second in the race in 2020. The fast Italian took third place in Clásica de Almería earlier this month and he says that he can’t wait to get started with the Classics season.

“This is the first big race of the season for me and it will be special to take it on with my new team”, Nizzolo said. “It’s a challenging race as it’s always a big battle between the riders wanting to attack from afar and the sprinters. It will be interesting to see what happens this year. Personally, I’ve had a few ups and downs in the last weeks, so I’m not quite sure where my condition is at, at the moment. However, it will be a good test for me and I can’t wait to start the race and go full gas!”

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (Feb 26)

Lineup: Sep Vanmarcke (BEL), Jenthe Biermans (BEL), Guillaume Boivin (CAN), Simon Clarke (AUS), Corbin Strong (NZL), Hugo Houle (CAN), Tom Van Asbroeck (BEL).
Sports directors: Dirk Demol (BEL), Eric Van Lancker (BEL).

Kuurne – Bruxelles – Kuurne (Feb 27)

Lineup: Giacomo Nizzolo (ITA). Jenthe Biermans (BEL), Guillaume Boivin (CAN), Hugo Houle (CAN), Sep Vanmarcke (Bel), Tom Van Asbroeck (BEL), Antonio Puppio (ITA).
Sports directors: Dirk Demol (BEL), Eric Van Lancker (BEL).