From Monday 7 till Sunday 13 August the WorldTour peloton will ride through Belgium and the Netherlands on the occasion of the BinckBank Tour, the former Eneco Tour. The riders get a varied course that takes them to Dutch Limburg, West-Flanders and the Walloon and Flemish Ardennes.

André Greipel is Lotto Soudal’s sprinter. He will have to compete against other fast men like Arnaud Démare, Fernando Gaviria, Dylan Groenewegen and Elia Viviani. The sprinters get a few chances at the BinckBank Tour, but the same goes for classic riders. On Saturday a hilly stage to Houffalize is scheduled and on Sunday the riders will need to cover the Bosberg and Muur van Geraardsbergen twice. The opponents of Tiesj Benoot, Tony Gallopin, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens will be among others Jan Bakelants, Tom Dumoulin, Philippe Gilbert, Jens Keukeleire, Oliver Naesen, Peter Sagan, Jasper Stuyven, Wout Van Aert, Greg Van Avermaet and Sep Vanmarcke.

Herman Frison, sports director Lotto Soudal: “The opening stage is an opportunity for the sprinters, although you can’t underestimate the influence of the wind on that course. If it’s a sprint on day one, the leader’s jersey can already change shoulders on Tuesday. In a time trial of nine kilometres the time gaps will be limited, but for the overall classification every second counts. It is very likely we get a sprint on Wednesday and Thursday. There aren’t many top sprinters in this race, so that could mean few teams will control the peloton. On Friday the race runs over roads of the Amstel Gold Race, but the stage can’t be compared to a Classics race. That stage is perfectly suited for escapees, the GC riders won’t be able to create considerable time gaps. The GC will be determined on Saturday in the stage to Houffalize and on Sunday when the stage finishes in Geraardsbergen.”

“We have a very versatile team, so we should be able to play a role in the sprint, in breakaways and in the hilly stages. It’s our goal to win a stage and that is possible on the different types of courses. We have several riders who can aim for a high place on GC too. It will become clear during the week who will be in the running for that.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal: Tiesj Benoot, Jasper De Buyst, Tony Gallopin, André Greipel, Nikolas Maes, Marcel Sieberg, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens.

Sports directors: Herman Frison and Bart Leysen.

Stages

Stage 1 Monday 7 August: Breda – Venray (169.8 km)

Stage 2 Tuesday 8 August: Voorburg – Voorburg (9 km) (ITT)

Stage 3 Wednesday 9 August: Blankenberge – Ardooie (185 km)

Stage 4 Thursday 10 August: Lanaken – Lanaken (154.2 km)

Stage 5 Friday 11 August: Sittard-Geleen – Sittard-Geleen (167.3 km)

Stage 6 Saturday 12 August: Riemst – Houffalize (203.7 km)

Stage 7 Sunday 13 August: Essen – Geraardsbergen (191.3 km)