Jürgen Roelandts is looking forward to the spring races this year, having missed them last year after suffering serious injuries in a crash in the 2012 Tour Down Under. He will lead the Lotto Belisol team on Saturday at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, and his team hopes that a win there wold be the start of a breakthrough year for the Belgian.
Roelandts suffered a fractured cervical vertebra in the first stage of last year's Australia race, and recovery and complications kept him out of racing for four months. He ended the season with a fractured collarbone and this year at the TDU he broke a finger, but has been able to keep on riding.
Although the finger presents minor problems, he is still anticipating doing well in Saturday's Belgian spring opener. “I am very motivated, I have trained and I've done everything to be good,” he told sporza.be.
"There are few opportunities in the spring, so I hope that everything will now fall in place,” he said. “If I don't have a bad day or bad luck, I will be there in the final.”
The 27-year-old has already shown his good form this year, having won the closing stage of the Tour de Med earlier this month.
Sport Director Herman Frison took his team over the Omloop course on Monday, and is pulling hard for Roelandts. “Jürgen deserves to win once. He has worked hard and has been doing well for a while.
“I hope this will be a breakthrough year. You have to work hard to get there and I think that Jürgen has done that the past two years. He has the talent and I am sure he will do beautiful things with it.”
There is no particular pressure on Saturday, though, as the team already has 11 wins and the season is still young. “We are off to a a very good start to the year, better than in previous years. We are on a roll and hopefully we will be able to continue it through the opening weekend.”
As Frison noted, “The opening weekend is always important for Belgian teams, the season actually only begins on Saturday.”