Our team won’t be short of options at the 81st edition of the French World Tour event.

“The Race to the Sun” celebrates 90 years this spring, and it will mark this anniversary by reviving the team time trial, which returns on the route for the first time in three decades. Running around Dampierre-en-Burly over 32.2 kilometers, the stage against the clock will take at the finish the time of the first rider across the line, an innovation which could bring some significant changes to the general classification.

Apart from this, a mix of flat stages and hilly ones, suited to the sprinters and baroudeurs, will make up the first couple of days, before a demanding weekend, which is set to include a visit to the top of Col de la Couillole (15.7km, 7.1%) – the highest finish in the history of the race, back after six years – and the iconic Col d’Èze (6km, 7.6%), the last climb standing between the riders and the finale on the Promenade des Anglais.

Having won a total of ten races since the beginning of the year, Soudal Quick-Step will look to add to this tally between 5-12 March. Kasper Asgreen, Rémi Cavagna, Tim Declercq, Yves Lampaert, UAE Tour double stage winner Tim Merlier, Mauro Schmid and French Champion Florian Sénéchal will line up at the start of the 81st edition of the race where our team has won a total of 17 stages and six distinctive jerseys.

“We have a strong and versatile team, consisting of riders who can be there on many of the race’s stages. It goes without saying that Tim Merlier will be our man for the bunch sprints, we’ve seen in UAE his condition, and we are confident he can be in the mix also here. Having Kasper, Rémi, Yves and Mauro on the squad makes us confident we can battle for victory in the TTT, while for the general classification we’ll see how far Mauro can go on the two hard stages in the weekend”, explained Soudal Quick-Step sports director Tom Steels.


Photo credit: ©Wout Beel

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