De Buyst expects an explosive edition of Dwars door Vlaanderen
End of the Spring Classics for Jens Keukeleire
The four-day Challenge Mallorca is scheduled from Thursday till Sunday. The event consists of four individual races, so-called Trofeos.
Bart Leysen, sports director Lotto Soudal: “Traditionally the Challenge Mallorca starts and ends with a race for sprinters and in between there are two climbing races. We have a team for both types of races and we’d love to claim a victory this week. Campenaerts, De Buyst, Vanendert and Wellens will all ride three Trofeos. The others will only race twice.”
“Jasper De Buyst is our sprinter. Last season he set some nice results and we hope he can continue on the same path in 2018. Moreno Hofland will be his lead-out. Tim Wellens is our leader for the climbing races. He is surrounded by teammates who can climb well too, such as Sander Armée and Jelle Vanendert. They can all support each other.”
“In December and January we held a training camp on Mallorca. Despite the fact that it rained the first days of our second training camp, all riders were able to complete their training schedule. This year the trainings were less intense, because we don’t want the riders to be in top shape too early. They only need to peak by the time of Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico and the Spring Classics. But that doesn’t mean they won’t already be racing well of course. We have faith that we can play along for victory at Challenge Mallorca.”
Tim Wellens, who won two Trofeos last year, kicks off his season again at Challenge Mallorca. He will race on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Before Tim starts the new cycling year, he looks back on the off-season. With a stage win and overall victory at Tour of Guangxi he could fully enjoy his time off.
Jasper De Buyst is our sprinter. Last season he set some nice results and we hope he can continue on the same path in 2018
Tim Wellens: “You are only as good as your last race, so that’s a good sign (laughs). Of course it’s all the better when you are able to finish your season that way. I had years in which I didn’t perform so well anymore at the end of the season and that’s less fun. This winter I was very relaxed. That last victory gave me mental rest.”
“I didn’t do anything for two weeks. In that period I went on a holiday to Dubai with my girlfriend. After those two weeks I started running, swimming, mountain biking and going to the fitness. I didn’t follow a schedule yet, but I just did sports when I wanted to. About three weeks later I started to use training schedules.”
“The training camps went really well. It was a huge advantage that we stayed at the Rafa Nadal Sports Centre. It’s the perfect location for sportsmen. We trained less intensively than previous years, so I will be in top shape later than usual. Nonetheless, I should be able to set good results as I’m always good at the start of the season. It would be nice to win in Mallorca, but there’s no pressure.”
Line-up Lotto Soudal: Sander Armée, Victor Campenaerts, Jasper De Buyst, Frederik Frison, Moreno Hofland, Tomasz Marczyński, Rémy Mertz, Maxime Monfort, Lawrence Naesen, James Shaw, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens.
Sports directors: Bart Leysen and Frederik Willems.