After the E3 Saxo Bank Classic and Gent-Wevelgem, the next race is on the schedule of both Team Jumbo-Visma World Tour teams. The semi-classic starts in Roeselare. It includes thirteen hills and traditionally finishes in Waregem. For this edition, the course was thoroughly redrawn. The women will face 10 climbs and 5 cobbled sections in 120 kilometres. For the men, 180 kilometres is on the programme with the same 5 cobbled sections and 13 slopes.
Famous hills like Kluisberg and Taaienberg were removed and the riders will not be tackling the Stationsberg cobblestones either. Instead, they will be presented with lesser-known slopes such as Zeelstraat, Stooktestraat and Ladeuze. However, tough climbs such as the Nieuwe Kwaremont, Knokteberg-Trieu, Hotond, Kanarieberg and Kortekeer return as usual. The number of cobbled sections has also been increased, from three to five, and many of these sections are in the final.
Besides Tiesj Benoot, David Dekker, Pascal Eenkhoorn, Timo Roosen, Olav Kooij and Mike Teunissen, Mick van Dijke will also be at the start. He made the switch from the Development team in September last year. “For me, this obviously is a level higher”, Van Dijke says. “There are outstanding riders at the start. With Benoot and Teunissen, we hope to play a big role in the final. They have done very well in the past classics and we will fully support them in getting the maximum result. I hope I can make it to the final. There are lesser-known hills in this year’s race. Slopes that I haven’t ridden yet, but I have researched how steep and long they are. My season has gone well so far. In the Friesland Elfsteden Race I was able to sprint for victory and in Drenthe I was in the final. I am confident and I am proud to be part of this team.”
“We are also looking forward to this race”, adds Lieselot Decroix, race coach at Team Jumbo-Visma Women. “With Teuntje Beekhuis, Karlijn Swinkels, Anouska Koster, Linda Riedmann, Aafke Soet and Noemi Ruegg, we are going to this race with a different team than in Gent-Wevelgem or the Tour of Flanders. That also means fewer set roles this time, but everyone can go for their chance. With 120 kilometres, it’s a short but tough race with lots of altimetres, vicious climbs and a cobblestone strip at the end. It’s an ideal race for our young riders to develop themselves further. We will leave for the race without pressure but with the desire to perform well.”
The women’s start is Wednesday at 11:30 am, the men’s start is at 12:45 pm. From 2:30 p.m. the race can be seen live at Sporza op Eén.
On Saturday, April 2, the Volta Limburg Classic will be held. Koen Bouwman, David Dekker, Tom Dumoulin, Loe Van Belle, Lars Boven, Archie Ryan and Rick Pluimers will ride this race on behalf of Team Jumbo-Visma. This race on Limburg roads starts at noon and is 195 kilometres long.