Core member's of Lotto Soudal's cobbled classics team have reconned the courses of Tour of Flanders and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad an anticipation of the upcoming races. Tiesj Benoot, Stig Broeckx, Jens Debusschere, André Greipel, Jürgen Roelandts and Jelle Wallays completed a 200km ride on the Flanders course having ridden the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad parcours the day previous.
"We are satisfied after these two recons," sports director Herman Frison said. "The weather was good both days; today it was cold but dry. Even the sun came out today. Because the weather was good, we could do the trainings as planned. Of course our riders know the Flemish hills, but still, such a recon is important to get the right vibe on the cobbles. That has to happen before the first race in Flanders. This year the Omloop has a new finish, it’s good the riders saw that today, just like the roads up to the new hill."
Frison added that he would prefer to do further reconnaissance of the courses but if they team are unable to do so, he is content with what he saw from the riders.
"The riders normally race in warm countries these days, like Spain and Portugal, there is a big difference with the temperature in Belgium, so also therefore it’s useful to train here. If the weather is good we’ll do another training on the course a few days before the Omloop, but if we should have to cancel that recon it’s good that we had this," he said.
Lotto Soudal will take part in two stage races, Spain's Ruta del Sol and Portugal's Volta ao Algarve, before tackling Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on February 27. Jens Debusschere was the best placed Lotto Soudal rider at last year's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, finishing almost five minutes down on winner Ian Stannard (Team Sky).
Benoot was the team's best finisher at Flanders last year, crossing the line in fifth place on his first start in the Belgian monument. Roelandts's eighth place ensured two in the too-ten for Lotto Soudal with Greipel finished 15th.
Cyclingnews' coverage of both the Tour of Flanders and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad will include race reports, results, photo galleries and exclusive news interviews.
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