On Wednesday our riders start in Nokere Koerse (1.HC, 14/03), the first important race in three weeks of spring races on Flemish soil. Timothy Dupont crowned himself winner on the famous Nokereberg in 2016. This year our rider wants to shine again with a strong WGG selection. Sports director Hilaire Van der Schueren counts, besides Dupont, on Frederik Backaert, Yoann Offredo, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, Dion Smith, Pieter Vanspeybrouck and Jérôme Baugnies. Former winner Dupont talks about his ambitions.
"Last week we were in Benidorm to put the finishing touch to the preparation for the classics. The period here developed perfectly. We were able to finish all the training riders we had prepared in ideal weather conditions."
"I already boarded the plane to Spain in a good shape, so that shape can only grow. In Dwars door West-Vlaanderen I experienced mechanical bad luck, but I felt really good. I am relieved that the temperatures rise in Belgium. In Samyn I was really caught by the cold. In Kuurne it was not too bad, but I prefer sunny conditions to race anyway. "
"After a training camp it is always a question of how the legs feel, but I start in Deinze with confidence. I have to be able to play a major role on Nokereberg. The competition is strong, but two years ago I was able to beat Halvorsen and Groenewegen."
"The final of the race has been changed, but nine chances out of ten it will turn out to be a big sprint on Nokereberg. The run-up to the sprint remains unchanged."
"Friday we start in Handzame Classic in Bredene, my home town. Starting in my own municipality is always fun, and if the weather is good I expect a sprint with a large group."