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For the final race of the 2019 cycling season, Lotto Soudal will be heading to China, where the six-day Tour of Guangxi starts on Thursday 17 October. Lotto Soudal rider Tim Wellens won the inaugural edition of this WorldTour stage race back in 2017. Sports director Mario Aerts discusses the Lotto Soudal line-up and the course which, on paper, looks harder than the two previous editions.
Mario Aerts: “There are some differences between racing in China and Europa. For example, there are few, if any, roundabouts, traffic islands or other obstacles. In general, the roads are wide and there is new asphalt, especially for the race.”
“On paper, the course looks indeed a little harder, compared to the two previous editions. But the general classification will once again most likely be decided during stage four, with the summit finish in Nongla. The final climb is three kilometres long. First, there’s 1.8 kilometres of climbing to the KOM prize, from where the road rises more gently. The final 200 metres till the finish are again steeper. The other stages are not very selective, except from the renewed stage three.”
“Because we don’t have a sprinter within our selection, the slightly harder parcours could play into our hands. In the past, Frederik Frison has already sprinted and he can maybe try to be up there. Avoiding a bunch sprint in China is really hard, but we can always try, of course.”
“With both Marczyński - who performed well during the Italian races - and Carl Fredrik Hagen, we have two riders who can target stage four and the general classification. A harder climb would maybe have been better for Carl, but he can definitely still show something with his Vuelta shape. It is also good for him that he raced in Lombardy, because his last race was the World Championship. So, the overall will be our main goal, a top ten result should definitely be the aim. Like always, we will start with ambition and we have to seize every opportunity that arises.”
“I also wouldn’t underestimate Victor Campenaerts - with the shape he is in - on the uphill finish. Of course, Victor is not a climber, but he can definitely aim for a nice GC result. Victor is really motivated to show himself during his last race for Lotto Soudal.”
Line-up Lotto Soudal Tour of Guangxi: Victor Campenaerts, Carl Fredrik Hagen, Adam Hansen, Rasmus Byriel Iversen, Frederik Frison, Tomasz Marczyński and Brian Van Goethem.
Sports director: Mario Aerts.
Tour of Guangxi
Stage 1 Thursday 17 October: Beihai – Beihai (135.6 km)
Stage 2 Friday 18 October: Beihai – Qinzhou (152.3 km)
Stage 3 Saturday 19 October: Nanning – Nanning (143 km)
Stage 4 Sunday 20 October: Nanning – Nongla (161.4 km)
Stage 5 Monday 21 October: Liuzhou – Guilin (212.2 km)
Stage 6 Tuesday 22 October: Guilin – Guilin (168.3 km)