After working for Peter Sagan at Milan-San Remo at the weekend, Sam Bennett will lead the way for Bora-Hansgrohe at this week’s Dwars door Vlaanderen. The team also has up and coming rider Erik Baska as a secondary option if the race comes to a bunch sprint.
Bennett has been predominantly used as a support man for new teammate Sagan this season but has been awarded a number of his own chances. The Irishman secured his first win of the year at the People’s Choice Classic in January and claimed the biggest win of his career with a sprint victory over Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin) on stage 3 of Paris-Nice. Bennett has only twice ridden Dwars door Vlaanderen but failed to finish on both occasions.
Bora-Hansgrohe for Dwars door Vlaanderen: Sam Bennett, Erik Baska, Michael Kolar, Juraj Sagan, Alexis Saramotins, Rudi Selig, Lukas Postlberger and Christoph Pfingsten.
Sunweb adds Matthews to Dwars door Vlaanderen roster
Michael Matthews will return to the cobbles for the first time in four years as his Sunweb team look to improve his abilities at the Flemish Classics. Matthews will be given as gentle as easing in as is possible at the Classics with the team naming him in the line-up for Wednesday’s Dwars door Vlaanderen.
Matthews’ last venture onto the cobbles came at the 2013 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, where he failed to finish. In 2011, he rode Nokere Koerse, Gent-Wevelgem and the Three days of De Panne but recent seasons have seen him target the hilly Classics in Ardennes.
Matthews will be backed up by some more experienced pavé riders in Zico Waeytens, Albert Timmer, Roy Curvers, Ramon Sinkeldam, Tom Stamsnijder, Bert de Backer and Mike Teunissen. Team Sunweb is missing a true cobbles contender after the departure of John Degenkolb over the winter. With Matthews far from a clear-cut chance for Sunweb, the team is looking to take an aggressive approach to the race.
"At Dwars door Vlaanderen we aim to ride offensively and be part of the major moves throughout the race. With the strong line-up that we have on Wednesday, we are hoping to be able to get a good result. With Michael we have the long-term plan to develop his cobbled classics’ capacities and gaining the necessary experience is a crucial part of this."
Eneco Tour to announce new sponsor imminently
Golazo, the organiser of the Eneco Tour – among other races – is confident that it will soon be able to announce a new title sponsor. Golazo has been on the hunt for a new sponsor ever since Eneco announced they would pull out last September. The energy company Eneco had been the sponsor since the revival of the race, which began life as the Tour of Netherlands.
The race is currently operating under the name the Lowlands Tour but Golazo told Dutch website wielerflits that a new sponsor should be announced in the next 10 days.
The renamed race, which takes place across the Netherlands and Belgium, is set to take place between August 6 and 13.
Astana tackle the cobbles
With the cobbled Classics set to resume this week at Dwars door Vlaanderen, ahead of the E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem double header, the teams have been busy getting in some practice on the stones.
Astana is one of the teams that have been out for a short recon ride, taking in the Oude Kwaremont on their journey. The team will be looking to 2013 champion Oscar Gatto to give them the victory. They also have Classics stalwart Matti Breschel and Belgian rider Laurens De Vreese. Completing the team are Dmitriy Gruzdev, Truls Engen Korsaeth. Alexey Lutsenko, Riccardo Minali, Ruslan Tleubayev.
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