For this year's edition of the Scheldeprijs (1.Pro, 07/04), the 109th in history, the organizers have decided to reshape the course. Last year, due to the pandemic, the race had to be limited to ten laps around Schoten, thus interrupting the new route introduced in 2018, which started from the Dutch peninsula of Terneuzen, in Zuiv-Beveland, before reaching the finish in the Antwerp municipality.
This time, the peloton will set off again from Terneuzen to join the Western Scheldt tunnel, 6 kilometers long, which leads them to Borsele (Zealand). But it will not stop along the Veerse Gatdam dam or the Deltaweg in Goes, both feared for the likelihood of echelons. 72 kilometers will be necessary before entering Belgian territory, east of the port of Antwerp, and as many will have to be accomplished before crossing the finish line for the 1st time and starting the three laps of the 16,7 kilometer-long circuit around Schoten. This year, the oldest of the Flemish races will feature its cobbled section of the Broekstraat, 1700 meters long, to be covered four times. In total, the peloton will complete 194 kilometers across the flat country to reach Churchill Avenue, where the organizers have now secured the roadway prone to numerous crashes in recent years.
The Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux team will join Zeeland with seven men who all already have at least one participation in this one-day race. The Dutchman Danny Van Poppel had notably finished third in 2014, and he comes out of an excellent Tour of Flanders (16th). He will be accompanied by his brother Boy Van Poppel, his compatriots Wesley Kreder and Taco van der Hoorn, but also the Italian sprinter Riccardo Minali, the German Jonas Koch and the Belgian Pieter Vanspeybrouck. Hilaire Van der Schueren and Steven De Neef will take charge of the team on Wednesday.
Danny Van Poppel :
"I like this race. It usually is for sprinters, but it has become more of a true Belgian classic since its change of course. The departure from Zeeland, which is a region very exposed to the wind, will undoubtedly lead to echelons. I doubt there will be a massive sprint, it will be more of a positioning race and we will have to be careful. We have had the opportunity to rehearse in that exercise in the past month, and I must say that the whole team is doing a wonderful job. We can see that the more we ride together, the more the automatisms are noticeable. As far as I'm concerned, the legs have recovered well from the Ronde. In comparison, I feel less tired than after Gent-Wevelgem. We will have a very strong and very experienced team in this race, so we will have to take advantage of the positive momentum to get a good result."
The selection :
Taco Van der Hoorn
Boy Van Poppel
Danny Van Poppel
Sports directors :
Hilaire Vander Schueren
Steven De Neef