Roelandts brings Classics strength to Movistar

Belgian aims for full spring one-day campaign

Jürgen Roelandts' move from BMC to Movistar may have been a surprise, but the Spanish outfit could offer him a leadership role during that Spring Classics that was tough to turn down.

Roelandts reportedly had the option of staying with the BMC team as they transitioned into CCC under new sponsorship in 2019, however, he chose to accept an offer from Movistar instead. The deal is reported to have taken place last July.

"I did not have to think about it for a long time when a rider from the team approached me in the Giro for the first time," Roelandts told Sporza. "I always found Movistar to be a team that I'd love to ride for, and they also have nice jerseys."

Roelandts spent 11 seasons with Lotto and its various sponsorship changes during those years. He joined the BMC team for the 2018 season before moving to Movistar this year.

He has never won a Classic but has been a top performer. He placed fifth and third at Milan-San Remo in 2018 and 2016 and was third at Tour of Flanders in 2013.

At Movistar, Roelandts will play a leadership role during the Classics, a position that is already filled by Greg Van Avermaet at CCC.

"Almost every team has a spring core, while at Movistar they only really participate from the [Ardennes] Classics, although they have a few riders with [Daniele] Bennati, [Imanol] Erviti and [Nelson] Oliveira, who can do well in Flanders."

Roelandts and his teammates Bennati, Erviti and Oliveira may well put more of a focus on a full Classics campaign, but new world championship Alejandro Valverde will have a more specific focus on the Tour of Flanders and then the Ardennes Classics.

He said he’s only met Valverde and the team briefly at the Movistar launch in December and that the next time he meets his teammates will be at the start of the season.

"I have only exchanged a few words with Valverde in Spanish," Roelandts said. "I do feel accepted into the group, and they also speak a bit slower in Spanish for me. Otherwise, I've had little contact with my teammates, but you only get to know each other really well in the races."

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