Lotto Belisol's team manager Marc Sergeant says that the experience and strength of fast-man Jurgen Roelandts in this weekend's opening classics, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne will be sorely missed with the team now counting on Kenny de Haes and Andre Greipel solely. In an interview with Sporza Sergeant noted that losing Roelandts had made the team's options in both semi-classics limited.
"We have a team of really strong riders, but we have no one that can replace the role of Jürgen Roelandts," said Sergeant. "We're definitely missing reliable winners. The flip-side is that it does allow some of our lesser known riders to stand up and shine, someone like Bak or Willems for example."
Roelandts suffered injuries to his cervical vertebrae at the Tour Down Under after a crash on the Tour Down Under's opening road stage. He has only recently returned to riding, and is expected to make a return to racing in the late spring or early summer. Lotto Belisol will have Andre Greipel to count on in Sunday's Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne however, the German has returned to his talismanic best having already taken six wins for the season.
"On Saturday [in Het Volk] we just want to focus on animating the race, the result isn't as important. Sunday however in Kuurne, with Greipel there, that is another matter."
Lotto Belisol for Omloop Het Neiuwsblad: Lars Ytting Bak (Den), Sander Cordeel (Bel), Jens Debusschere (Bel), Kenny De Haes (Bel), Maarten Neyens (Bel), Mimo Vicente Reynes (Spa), Marcel Sieberg (Ger), Frederik Willems (Bel)
Lotto Belisol for Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne: André Greipel (Ger), Gregory Henderson (NZl), Lars Bak (Den), Vicente Reynes (Spa), Marcel Sieberg (Ger), Sander Cordeel (Bel), Jonas Vangenechten (Bel), Frederik Willems (Bel)