WorldTeam Lotto Soudal to Nokere Koerse and Bredene Koksijde Classic with versatile squad
This week, the Lotto Soudal WorldTeam will again be racing on Belgian soil with on Wednesday the 16th of March Nokere Koerse and on Friday 18 March the Bredene Koksijde Classic. Also, in the 76th edition of Nokere Koerse, everything revolves around the short, cobbled climb of Nokereberg. From the city of Deinze, the race will kick off with an 80-kilometre loop, continued by four local laps of 25 kilometres, in which plenty cobbled sections will grant the attackers opportunities to avoid a sprint finish on Nokereberg. Lotto Soudal will ride Nokere Koerse with the following seven riders: Cedric Beullens, Victor Campenaerts, Thomas De Gendt, Arnaud De Lie, Sébastien Grignard, Michael Schwarzmann and Florian Vermeersch.
On Friday there is the Bredene Koksijde Classic, which, like last year, presents the riders with a mix of wind, hills and cobblestones. Following the start in Bredene, the race heads towards Heuvelland, where the riders will face the Kemmelberg and Monteberg, amongst others. After passing through the notorious road of ‘De Moeren’, it goes to finish place Koksijde, where three local laps will be completed before the actual finish. For Bredene Koksijde Classic, Lotto Soudal counts on Michael Schwarzmann, Cedric Beullens, Sébastien Grignard, Victor Campenaerts, Rüdiger Selig and Arnaud De Lie.
“Both Nokere Koerse and Bredene Koksijde Classic are important races for Lotto Soudal and we have a competitive team at the start to achieve nice results”, says sports director Nikolas Maes. “The course of Nokere Koerse has again become slightly harder with the addition of some cobbled sections. There are enough opportunities to attack with riders like Florian Vermeersch or Victor Campenaerts, but with Arnaud De Lie we have another trump card if it comes to a sprint because the youngster has already proven that he can win.”
“During the Bredene Koksijde Classic, we need to be careful for the wind and possible echelon formation. When the peloton enters the hilly terrain of Heuvelland, it can split into several pieces but it remains to be seen if there will be enough organisation to keep things going. Without a doubt, the hills will cause some damage and it will be important to always ride attentively. And if it does come to a sprint, we will go for it with Arnaud De Lie.”