European Champion Fabio Jakobsen makes his first appearance of the month this weekend.

Held annually since 2001, Dwars door het Hageland is one of the most exciting non-World Tour one-day races on the calendar, its combination of cobbles, gravel roads and short climbs providing plenty of action each year. This should be the case again this Saturday, when the riders will line out in Aarschot for the start of a 178.5km journey over an undulating route that will take them to Diest, where the traditional punchy finish awaits.

Tim Declercq, Yves Lampaert, Michael Mørkøv, Figueira Champions Classic winner Casper Pedersen, Jannik Steimle, GP Vermarc victor Stan Van Tricht and Louis Vervaeke will be the seven Soudal Quick-Step riders taking on the 20th edition of this race.

“Hageland is a spectacular race and quite an atypical one, with all those gravel sections. Some of the guys on the squad come back from altitude and we’re curious to discover how they are. We have plenty of options, so we’ll just see how things go, who has the legs and also luck on his side, as this too will be an important factor”, explained sports director Tom Steels.

One day later, Fabio Jakobsen will try to defend his title at Elfstedenronde Brugge. The European Champion he will be joined for the 190.3km race by the Hageland team, minus Louis, whose place he will take.

“We have a strong team for Sunday. The race usually ends in a bunch sprint, and this should be the case again, with the nice weather predicted for this weekend. Fabio will be our man and we’ll do our best to protect and bring him in a good position so he can fight for the win”, said Soudal Quick-Step sports director Klaas Lodewyck.


Photo credit: ©Luc Claessen / Getty Images

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