This weekend, there are two WorldTour races on the calendar. On Saturday, there is the Clásica San Sebastián, followed by the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic on Sunday. Lotto Soudal starts both races with the same goal, which is to compete for victory.

Clásica San Sebastián

The Clásica San Sebastián is a one-day classic which is held in the Basque Country for the 37th time. In the past years, the winner always finished solo after a decisive attack on the steep Murgil Tontorra in the finale of the race. This climb is nearly two kilometres long and has gradients up to 25%. Before this climb, the riders will also have done two ascents each of the Jaizkibel and the Arkale.

Lotto Soudal brings an ex-winner of the race at start of the Spanish cycling classic, namely Tony Gallopin. The team has also lined up, among others, Tiesj Benoot, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens. Last year’s winner, Bauke Mollema, has proven to be in good shape by winning a stage in the past Tour de France and will be one of the main competitors, just like the Yates brothers and Greg Van Avermaet.

Frederik Willems, sports director Lotto Soudal: “The goal for Saturday will be to compete for victory in the Clásica San Sebastián. We start with a strong team that consists of, on the one hand, riders who have ridden the Tour de France, and on the other hand, guys who just finished a good Tour de Wallonie.”

“Tony Gallopin will be the team leader. He has proven in the past that this is a race that suits him very well. He has always set a nice result in the three times he has participated. He won in 2013, was fifth in 2014 and finished in second place last year. He has shown to be in great shape during the past Tour de France where he was in the attack a couple of times in the second and third week.”

“Next to him, we also start with Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens. We will still have to see how good Tiesj will be after his first Grand Tour. Two seasons ago, Tim proved that he can ride a good second half of the season after the Tour de France, but the situation is slightly different now. He had to abandon the Tour due to illness, but he has indicated that his training rides went well. However, it has still to be seen how he will perform on Saturday.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal: Lars Bak, Tiesj Benoot, Sean De Bie, Tony Gallopin, Rémy Mertz, Tosh Van der Sande, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens.

Sports director: Frederik Willems

Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic

On Sunday, the peloton heads to the RideLondon Classic. It’s only the sixth time this race will be organised and it’s the first time that it’s a part of the UCI WorldTour. There are a few hills on the course of 186 kilometres, but the previous editions made it clear that this race will most likely end in a bunch sprint.

Lotto Soudal has one of the main favourites for this race with André Greipel. He will get the support from a good and experienced lead-out. Roelandts and Sieberg have performed very well in the past Tour de France, while the others have prepared themselves in the Tour de Wallonie. They showed to be in great shape as it resulted in a stage victory for Jasper De Buyst.

Bart Leysen, sports director Lotto Soudal: “This race has ended in a bunch sprint in most of the previous editions and that will be our goal for this year as well. Our line-up for Sunday is therefore completely focused on a bunch sprint. André Greipel, Jasper De Buyst and Moreno Hofland are all three fast riders, although André is definitely our leader.”

“André Greipel has returned in good shape from the Tour de France. It’s true that he didn’t win a stage, but he came close a couple of times. He has also put his mind onto this Prudential RideLondon. Next to that, Jasper De Buyst has shown to be in excellent shape in the Tour de Wallonie. He won the second stage and had a chance to win in the fourth stage as well.”

“We are heading to London with a sprint finish in mind and I suppose that there will be other teams with the same intention. Since we start with a very strong line-up, other teams will look at us to take control of the race. We will have to ensure that the early breakaway is not too large to control. All in all, if other teams want to eliminate André Greipel before the sprint, then the race must be made very hard, since he is able to overcome most hills without much problems.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal: Jasper De Buyst, André Greipel, Moreno Hofland, Nikolas Maes, Jürgen Roelandts, James Shaw and Marcel Sieberg.

Sports director: Bart Leysen