The Belgian is putting the final touch on his preparation for the Opening Weekend at the Volta ao Algarve as he looks forward to the first Classics of the season.
“First of all, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad takes place in Belgium and it’s a Classic. These are really important for the team, and for me personally also the races I like the most and the type of races that suit me the best. It’s not that we have to win there already, but of course it’s always nice for the confidence and it takes away a bit of pressure towards the other Classics later on. You immediately see and feel that we race a bit more relaxed, if we already take a win in the Opening Weekend.”
“I think the feeling is good and everyone trained hard during the training camps. The preps went well, every winter of course has its small problems, like sickness or a crash during training. I’m now riding in Algarve as a final preparation for next week. It’s a hard event – five days of racing with an individual time trial – so it’s the perfect final race before Omloop. I prefer to have some race days in the legs than just training and training camps, but that’s a personal choice of course.”
Strength of The Wolfpack
“From next Thursday onwards, we will be in the team hotel, and from that moment on it’s time to focus. I always feel nervous ahead of the Opening Weekend. It’s also the first World Tour one-day race, so the level of the opponents will be higher than in a normal race for sure. I will definitely try my best to take the victory, my second place of 2020 motivates me. Our strength is the fact we have several cards to play. We need to try to avoid being in a defensive position, other teams have one leader but we can divide a bit and see how the race evolves.”
“Of course, Paris-Roubaix remains my dream race. I hope that this year I will have less bad luck. Finishing fifth last year after so many mechanicals gave me a lot of confidence. The race really suits me. I need to believe in myself and hope to have some luck. Having a little boy now gives me extra motivation, last year I felt it already. I miss him when I’m away, but coming home and seeing him makes it so worth it. I hope to be able to give him a trophy one day.”
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