Belgian Champion Stijn Devolder is already looking forward to his first Tour de France. He will leave home for Toulouse on Sunday to reconnoitre the major Pyrenean and Alpine stages that will feature in the race in July. The Ronde van Vlaanderen winner will be accompanied by his Spanish team-mate Carlos Barredo and team director Dirk Demol.
The riders will first take in the route of stage nine, which heads from Toulouse to Bagnères-de-Bigorre next Sunday, followed on Monday by the Pau to Hautacam parcours. One Tuesday they will head to the Alps to ride the three Alpine stages over the following days. "This training period will serve to help Stijn get to know the roads of the Tour, but also to regain his confidence on the major climbs," said Demol. "Up until today he hasn't participated in a race with significant climbs. This training period will be important; to do a good Tour you should leave nothing to chance."
"This will be my first Tour and I'm curious to discover the roads," said Devolder. "For me it's an honour and a great chance to race in the Tour with a group like team Quick Step, where I feel perfectly at ease. These workouts will definitely be useful for me."