After a strong run of Classics results that culminated with Alexander Kristoff's win at Gent-Wevelgem and third-place at Tour of Flanders, UAE Team Emirates will give their young guns a chance to shine at the Belgian cobbled race Scheldeprijs on Wednesday.
Simone Consonni, 24, and Jasper Philipsen, 21, will take the the reins for UAE Team Emirates in the mid-week race hoping to emulate Kristoff's success over the past two weekends.
"The Scheldeprijs will be a hard race Wednesday because of the predicted wind. Even though this race is usually decided in a bunch sprint, this year could be different because of the wind," said team director Allan Peiper. "We have Consonni and Philipsen as leaders, and the rest of the team will work for them."
Joining Consonni and Philipsen on the start line Wednesday in Ellewoutsdijk will be Tom Bohli, Roberto Ferrari, Ivo Oliveira and Rui Oliveira. The average age of the six riders is 25, with Roberto Ferrari's 36 years raising the mean dramatically.
Philipsen has been a revelation this year, his first on the WorldTour after graduating form Axel Merckx's Hagens Berman Axeon development team, taking a win in January at the Tour Down Under after battling shoulder to shoulder with Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal). An impressive third-place finish at Danilith Nokere Koerse solidified his 'Belgian' credentials.
Consonni, who signed with UAE Team Emirates in 2017, has one professional win coming in a stage at the Tour of Slovenia last year. So far this year he's scored multiple top ten results at the Vuelta a San Juan, the Volta ao Algarve and the Bredene Koksijde Classic.
The 107th running of Scheldeprijs starts in Ellewoutsdijk 202.3km to Schoten for an expected sprint finish.
Deceuninck-QuickStep's young Dutch sprinter Fabio Jakobsen won the race last year, but, barring Alexander Kristoff's win in 2015, the race has been the exclusive property of Marcel Kittel since he first won it in 2012. Before that, Mark Cavendish and Tyler Farrar claimed the trophy in 2011 and 2010, respectively.
Cyclingnews will have full live coverage of Scheldeprijs, with news, interviews, tech and race galleries post-race.
UAE Team Emirates for Scheldeprijs: Tom Bohli, Simone Consonni, Roberto Ferrari, Ivo Oliveira, Rui Oliveira, Jasper Philipsen.
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