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By Brecht Decaluwé in Kortrijk One day before things get going in Bruges, the CSC team welcomed the...
By Brecht Decaluwé in Kortrijk
One day before things get going in Bruges, the CSC team welcomed the press in their hotel in Kortrijk. Press officer Brian Nygaard couldn't express it better way when he got the press meeting going. "It looks like there are about five times more people than last year, there must be a reason for that," Nygaard said.
For sure there was a reason, namely a bigger chance on the win in Ronde van Vlaanderen. CSC made it clear when introducing the team that they should be able to compete with the favourites from Quickstep. Team leaders Fabian Cancellara, Stuart O'Grady, and Karsten Kroon will be supported by five strong men: Matti Breschel, Marcus Ljungqvist, Allan Johansen, debutant Kasper Klostergaard, and retiring Lars Michaelsen. Team manager Scott Sunderland explained that these guys all have what it takes to battle the cobbles and the hills throughout Flanders on Easter Sunday.
"You need to have some sort of passion for these races, otherwise you can't make it to the finish," Sunderland said. The team really wants to do well during the Spring Classics and Sunderland pointed out how important these races are for the team. "We have more people here to support the boys than in the Tour de France."
Who else than the retiring Lars Michaelsen could comment on the team's strength? "I've been riding for many strong teams like TVM but within this team, there are six to seven guys who're able to ride the finale in Flanders," Michaelsen said.
While 18,000 amateurs are doing their reconnaissance of the course on Saturday, the CSC guys threw a light on the changed course that is without the infamous Koppenberg and has fewer big roads. "It's justified to remove the Koppenberg from the course because this race doesn't need something like that. You have to be an artist to go up there, and I know we're artists, but that's a little over the top. The new part of the course will give a new dimension to the race anyway; by skipping the big roads, the race development will be different, " Michaelsen said.
His team manager Sunderland agreed, "everybody could recuperate after the first section before the Oude Kwaremont but now some riders will be isolated as it won't be possible to come back; that's when numbers start to count. We'll have an exciting finale," Sunderland said.
Read the full news feature on Team CSC.