UAE Team Emirates' two main sprinters, Alexander Kristoff and Fernando Gaviria, will lead their team at separate northern Classics this week, with Gaviria racing Wednesday's Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne and Kristoff taking on Friday's E3 BinckBank Classic, before both head to Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday.
"I'm racing in Belgium with enthusiasm, and an eye on these races like a student in cycling school with a lot of desire to take it all in," said 24-year-old Gaviria, who joined UAE Team Emirates this season from QuickStep, in a team press release.
"I'd like to gain experience, learn from the directors and my teammates, and get a good idea of what kind of level is required in these types of races."
Kristoff, meanwhile, boasts a wealth of experience at the Classics, and won multiple stages at De Panne when it was still held as a three-day race, and took the overall title there in 2015 after winning all three stages. However, he'll skip De Panne this year and begin his final build-up to the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix with the E3 BinckBank Classic on Friday.
"With the E3, my northern campaign starts," Kristoff said. "I'm arriving there with my condition and health better than last year, so I hope to be able to be more competitive. The team is reinforced for these races, so the signs are looking good."
The pair are then set to reunite once more at Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday, before both take on Dwars door Vlaanderen on April 3, the Tour of Flanders on April 7 and Paris-Roubaix the following weekend, on April 14.
The question as to who might work for who at Milan-San Remo last weekend – their last race together – never had to be answered, with UAE Team Emirates missing the race-winning move, which saw a dozen riders go clear on the climb of the Poggio, with Deceuninck-QuickStep's Julian Alaphilippe winning the day.
Winner of La Primavera in 2014, Kristoff, led home the main field in 14th place, while Gaviria was 16th.
UAE Team Emirates for the 2019 Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne [March 27]: Tom Bohli, Simone Consonni, Roberto Ferrari, Fernando Gaviria, Vegard Stake Laengen, Ivo Oliveira, Oliviero Troia
UAE Team Emirates for the 2019 E3 BinckBank Classic [March 29]: Tom Bohli, Sven Erik Bystrøm, Alexander Kristoff, Vegard Stake Laengen, Marco Marcato, Jasper Philipsen, Oliviero Troia
UAE Team Emirates for the 2019 Gent-Wevelgem [March 31]: Sven Erik Bystrøm, Simone Consonni, Fernando Gaviria, Alexander Kristoff, Vegard Stake Laengen, Marco Marcato, Ivo Oliveira
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