Thor Hushovd may have made an early exit from E3 Prijs Vlaanderen-Harelbeke with a stomach bug, but his planned omission from Cervélo's roster for Gent-Wevelgem will give the team's younger riders their chance to shine in Belgium on Sunday. Theo Bos and Martin Reimer will make their Gent-Wevelgem debuts on Sunday and for Bos in particular, the race will be his first taste of Classics.
Despite having already recorded two victories this season, the 26-year-old Dutchman is realistic about his expectations for the race. "It's going to be a hard race for me, but I'm feeling excited and looking forward to it," he told Cyclingnews. "The legs feel okay and it's going to be a totally new experience for me: my first time in a real Belgian Classic."
This week, Bos completed reconnaissance of some of the expected key points in the new-look Gent-Wevelgem and will enter the race fresh after sitting out Saturday's E3 Prijs Vlaanderen-Harelbeke.
"E3 Prijs I think is too hard for me, even Sunday will be tough," he said. "On Thursday I went to the hills with a scooter and rode the Kemmelberg and Rode Berg. It's going to be really hard and I don't know what to expect. I'll just give it 100 per cent. I don't have expectations of being in the front group, winning a sprint or whatever. We'll just see what happens."
Dominique Rollin, one of Bos' team-mates for the race, told Cyclingnews that his Dutch colleague will be just one of the cards the team can play this weekend. Rollin himself will be considered a strong contender for the event, but he signalled 22-year-old Reimer as another rider capable of a strong performance with fresh legs.
"He's [Bos] been going pretty well this year. He improved his climbing and endurance a lot, so I think he'll be a really good asset to have," said Rollin. "He hasn't done any Belgian races this year and I don't think it would be clever to put all our eggs in one basket, so it's good to have some more guys ready for the Classics. But he's done a recon of the circuit behind the moto and he felt comfortable so, yeah, I think he can do something over there.
"Martin Reimer isn't racing on Saturday, so he could be another one who can do something on Sunday," he added.