Roger Kluge previews the Deutschland Tour
After Sunday’s EuroEyes Cyclassics Hamburg, Lotto Soudal will stay in Germany a little longer to take part in the Deutschland Tour, which kicks off this Thursday. Just like last year, the organisation of this Europe Tour race designed an attractive course that offers opportunities for sprinters, punchers as well as attackers. Roger Kluge will ride through his home country during the Deutschland Tour and previews the four-day stage race.
Roger Kluge: “I felt good in the Cyclassics Hamburg last Sunday but unfortunately, I broke a spoke in my front wheel, so I was forced to change bikes. I still tried to come back but at only 30 kilometres to go, with the narrow roads and the high pace at the front, I knew it would be almost impossible. I recovered from the Tour really well, I had a solid training block and I look forward to start racing at the Deutschland Tour. I am super motivated and happy to race in my home country. Usually, the roads are really nice and the Deutschland Tour is well-organised. They really want to bring back the race to where it was in the past, towards an eight or nine-day stage race.”
“I had a peek at the course and the first stage should be a first sprint opportunity. The finale of both stage two and three is hilly, but it could be something that also suits Caleb Ewan. We definitely have one sprint opportunity with Caleb, maybe even two or three, depending on how the race unfolds. On Sunday, there’s a short uphill finish, so that will most likely be a day for the general classification riders.”
“With fifteen WorldTour teams at the start, it will be high-level racing. The fact that there are only teams of six riders will make it a little more difficult to control the race for a possible sprint. I haven’t checked the start list yet but there should definitely be two or three other teams who want to have a sprint as well. It could be an open race from stage two onwards, but that will mostly depend on the size of the breakaway. As the teams are smaller, an early attack that goes till the finish is a realistic scenario. It will for sure make for some exciting racing!”
“My role will be pretty much the same like I did during my last 70 days of racing and that is to protect Caleb. Jens Keukeleire is definitely the right man to take my place if the terrain gets a little too hard for me. Jasper De Buyst won’t be at the start, so definitely in the first stage, I will most likely be the final guy to bring Caleb as far as possible. But like during the Tour, we won’t do a lead-out. I will assist Caleb the best I can and we’ll try to win a stage.”
Line-up Lotto Soudal: Caleb Ewan, Frederik Frison, Jens Keukeleire, Roger Kluge, Nikolas Maes and Jelle Vanendert.
Sports director: Herman Frison.
Stage 1 Thursday 29 August: Hannover – Halberstadt (167 km)
Stage 2 Friday 30 August: Marburg – Göttingen (202 km)
Stage 3 Saturday 31 August: Göttingen – Eisenach (189 km)
Stage 4 Sunday 1 September: Eisenach – Erfurt (159.5 km)