The former winner of the Belgian Monument is confident ahead of his fifth start in De Ronde.
Kasper Asgreen and his six teammates who will take on De Ronde were present Friday afternoon in Wielsbeke to celebrate 25 years since Quick-Step entered cycling and to talk about one of the season’s highlights – Sunday’s 273.5km race between Brugge and Oudenaarde. There, the 28-year-old talked about what the race means for him and the Wolfpack’s expectations.
“Flanders is a special race not just for the Flemish people, but for the whole cycling world. Growing up it was my favourite race, the one I never missed on TV. It’s something special about the course – how hard it is and how it makes for some aggressive and spectacular racing. All this has a certain appeal to riders and fans.
I am confident, even if there’s a difference between where I am now and where I was last year or two years ago, when I won. I’m progressing every week, but it’s been a longer way back than I imagined. Things are getting better and better, so hopefully the legs are there on Sunday.
Going into the race, we need to accept that we don’t have the strength necessary to dictate the race, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing, because we can still race in a different way – without controlling it from kilometer zero – that can allow us to be competitive and fight for a good result. It’s important to believe in it and don’t let it get into our heads that we don’t have the same strength as in the past. If we lose faith, we will certainly not get any results.
We try to keep our morale high and there’s still belief in this group of riders.
I don’t see why we shouldn’t be able to do it. We know that others are favourites, but this shouldn’t distract us, as we just need to focus on our race. There is always pressure, but that isn’t something new in such a prestigious race. At the end of the day, Flanders has no secrets. Anything can happen. You just need to be strong the entire race and especially at the end.”
Photo credit: ©Wout Beel