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Sylvain Chavanel (Omega-Pharma Quickstep) looks comfortable on the Haaghoek
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The Omega Pharma-QuickStep and Katusha teams have officially announced their squads for Wednesday's Dwars door Vlaanderen and both teams are treating the 1.1 rated Belgian race as a serious prelude before the trio of World Tour events Gent-Wevelgem, E3 Harelbeke and the Tour of Flanders all within the next 10 days.
The riders will face no less than 13 climbs distributed along the route, including the Oude Kwaremont and the Patersberg, two key ascents in the Tour of Flanders.
"It's an important race in which we will line up a squad that can bring results," said Omega Pharma-Quickstep director Wilfried Peeters. "The race is just a few days before Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem, so it will be also a very important test for us. In the final the route is very challenging. The climb on Nokereberg is located at only 6 kilometres from the arrival so it could be a crucial point in the race."
Katusha will bring its fast men Oscar Freire and Denis Galimzyanov, the two have both started the year on a positive note with a string of results between them and will hope to continue that run in Belgium. Though never a star on the cobbles, Freire has distinguished himself over the years in Belgian, and a result in Gent-Wevelgem, E3 Harelbeke and the Tour of Flanders are not beyond him.
Katusha: Oscar Freire (Spa), Denis Galimzyanov (Rus), Marco Haller (Aut), Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus), Alexander Porsev (Rus), Rudiger Selig (Ger), Alexey Tsatevich (Rus), Maxime Vantomme (Bel).
Omega Pharma - Quickstep: Matthew Brammeier (Irl), Sylvain Chavanel (Fra), Gerald Ciolek (Ger), Iljo Keisse (Bel), Nikolas Maes (Bel), Gert Steegmans (Bel), Niki Terpstra (Ned), Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel)