Belgian nationals course too hard for Boonen, race manager says

The course for the Belgian national road championships is too hard for Tom Boonen and Gianni Meersman, said race manager Jean-Luc Vandenbroucke, who picks Jurgen Van den Broeck for the title.

The course in La Roche-en-Ardenne has two parts, a city circuit to be covered twice,  described as “a bit of the Monaco Grand prix, only cycling,” followed by sixteen laps of a 13.8 km circuit course, for a total of 220 kilometers.

It is the second circuit which makes the course so difficult. It features not only the Cote d'Ortho, the main climb of Liege-Bastogne-Liege, but also two short but nasty climbs.

“It is something for climbers,” Vandenbroucke said, calling it much too difficult for Boonen, and possibly for almost everyone else. “If the weather is bad, I don't expect twenty riders at the finish.”

Philippe Gilbert has a chance, “but has too few teammates in the race.” He looks to Van den Broeck and Maxime Monfort, who “is not a world champion and will therefore find it easier to slip away.”

"Jelle Vanendert was actually my favorite. But he's not well. And so I put my money on Van den Broeck. If he ever wants to win the Belgian championship, this is his chance."

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