Steff Cras talks about his selection for the Tour de France. “A dream come true”
The team was looking for a rider of my profile. Someone who can help during the flat part and who can stay with Caleb in the mountains.
On Saturday 7 September, the Tour of Britain will start. The eight-day stage race will start in Scotland and will end in the UK. The race will be even more special this year, because in a few weeks Yorkshire will host the world championships. Like every year, there are both flat and hilly stages full of short, steep hills on the menu. The Tour of Britain will finish two times uphill; one time in Kendal and another time on the Burton Dassett Hills. Sports director Frederik Willems looks ahead.
Frederik Willems: “The Tour of Britain has always been a selective parcours, the roads are almost never flat. The first stages can definitely end in a sprint, but it will depend on which team will control the race. With Jasper De Buyst we have someone with the capacities to compete in a mass sprint."
“In my opinion stage four and stage seven are the most difficult ones and then of course there is also the individual time trial. In other words, the Tour of Britain has it all, which characterizes this race.”
“A stage win is our main goal, on the one hand with Jasper De Buyst in the sprints, on the other hand with Tiesj Benoot in the hilly stages. Our young guys will also get their chance, but they’ll have to show the right mentality. With teams of only six riders here in England, it’s always a surprise how it will turn out. Besides the goal to win a stage, we will also try to do well in the overall classification with Tiesj.”
“In any case, Tiesj and Jasper are our protected riders. That’s the attitude our other four riders have to start with, but that does not mean that they can’t have a go themselves, for example by joining a breakaway. We want to race attentively from day one, so that we’re not being forced into the defensive.”
“Mathieu van der Poel is definitely someone to keep an eye on. Most teams will already think about the Worlds, so everyone who wants to be good in Yorkshire, will show themselves in Britain. Tiesj Benoot has a good chance to be selected for the World Championships, especially with the form he is in the last few weeks. Just think about his stage win in Denmark and his second place in the Bretagne Classic.”
Line-up Lotto Soudal: Tiesj Benoot, Jasper De Buyst, Frederik Frison, Rasmus Byriel Iversen, Rémy Mertz and Brent Van Moer.
Sports director: Frederik Willems.
Stage 1: 7 September, Glasgow – Kirkcudbright (201.5 km)
Stage 2: 8 September, Kelso – Kelso (165.9 km)
Stage 3: 9 September, Berwick – Newcastle (183.2 km)
Stage 4: 10 September, Gateshead – Kendal (173.2 km)
Stage 5: 11 September, Birkenhead – Birkenhead (174.1 km)
Stage 6: 12 September, Pershore – Pershore (14.4 km)
Stage 7: 13 September, Warwick – Dasset (188.7 km)
Stage 8: 14 September, Altrincham – Manchester (166 km)