WorldTour

De Buyst expects an explosive edition of Dwars door Vlaanderen

27/03/2018

This season Dwars door Vlaanderen (WorldTour) is scheduled four days before the Ronde van Vlaanderen for the very first time. A new date on the calendar, but also a new course!

The race is 180 kilometres long. Between Roeselare and the finish in Waregem twelve hills await the riders, including three times the Knokteberg (Côte de Trieu). Nokereberg is the last hill on the course, nine kilometres from the finish.

Jasper De Buyst is part of the Lotto Soudal line-up, together with among other Tiesj Benoot and Jens Debusschere. De Buyst had bad luck in both the finale of Milan-Sanremo and Ghent-Wevelgem, each time he was riding in an excellent position. When crashing on the descent of the Poggio he hurt his left elbow and hand. On Sunday he had a mechanical at the end of the second ascent of the Kemmelberg.

Jasper De Buyst: “At E3 Harelbeke on Friday I didn’t feel fully recovered from my crash in Sanremo. That’s why I decided to do my job for Tiesj Benoot early on in the race. After some visits to the physiotherapist my elbow and hand didn’t bother me anymore on Sunday. I am actually very happy about my current shape. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to confirm that by setting a good result because bad luck struck twice. Both in Sanremo and Wevelgem I was riding at the front in the deep finale. That proves I am good. If I wouldn’t have had a mechanical on Sunday I would have been part of the large group of 25 that rode to the finish in Wevelgem together.

“We start with a strong team tomorrow. Whose card we’ll play, is to be decided during the race. That will depend on the developments in the race. Because of the new course, the shorter distance and the bad weather it could be an explosive and exhausting race. It will be a matter of being very attentive. The first hill turns up with less than one hundred kilometres to go, which could cause the race to already explode at that point. That would be fine by me. Because it’s a new course there are not yet any points where you know the race will really start, although the Taaienberg is always a decisive moment in a race. We need to climb the Côte de Trieu three times and it’s a hill that shouldn’t be underestimated. The bunch can definitely split there. So there are several options.”

“Dwars door Vlaanderen is now scheduled four days before the Ronde, but because of the rather short distance many favourites for the Ronde will still participate. When I should name favourites for tomorrow I think of the usual names like Jasper Stuyven, Wout Van Aert and Greg Van Avermaet. I hope tomorrow will be a turning point for me and I hope I can fully make use of my potential.”

 

"Jens Keukeleire incurred a respiratory infection, of which he hasn’t recovered yet."

Unfortunately no more Spring Classics for Jens Keukeleire. The Belgian fell ill after Bruges – De Panne and had to be replaced for E3 Harelbeke and Ghent-Wevelgem. At the moment he hasn’t sufficiently recovered to get back in competition. After consulting the medical staff it has been decided to skip the upcoming Spring Classics, to fully recover first and to work towards new goals afterwards.

Servaas Bingé, team doctor Lotto Soudal: “First, Jens crashed in the finale of Milan-Sanremo. He wasn’t hurt much and so it was decided he would ride Bruges – De Panne. Afterwards he incurred a respiratory infection, of which he hasn’t recovered yet. Unfortunately a rider is more fragile when he is in top shape. Now we have to focus on his health and well-being. Of course this is a huge disappointment for Jens. This is a very important time in his first season in a new team and of course he wanted to perform the best as possible.”

Line-up Dwars door Vlaanderen: Lars Bak, Tiesj Benoot, Jasper De Buyst, Jens Debusschere, Nikolas Maes, Lawrence Naesen and Jelle Wallays.

Sports directors: Herman Frison and Frederik Willems.

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