Philippe Gilbert and Yves Lampaert will get their season underway in France.
A flat individual time trial around Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer – a small town where Vincent Van Gogh produced several paintings in 1888 – and three hilly stages comprising twelve classified climbs will shape up the general classification at the fourth edition of the Tour de la Provence, where our team returns after having previously raced the inaugural edition, where we won a brace of stages and two distinctive jerseys.
Winner of more than 70 pro races throughout his astonishing career, Philippe Gilbert will headline the Deceuninck – Quick-Step seven-man squad at next week’s race (14-17 February), where he will be joined by World TTT Champion Kasper Asgreen, Rémi Cavagna, Tim Declercq, Belgian Champion Yves Lampaert, Florian Sénéchal and Pieter Serry, all except Cavagna making their season debut in France.
“After a nice training camp in Algarve, all the riders are sharp and ready to start in La Provence, a well-organised race which schedules on the opening day an ITT that suits several of our riders. Powerhouse Tim Declercq will keep the break under control the following day and hopefully we’ll be in the mix for the stage victory, in case it will come down to a bunch sprint”, said Brian Holm.
Our Danish sports director continued: “As always, we are motivated and will fight for stage wins and the general classification with our strong rouleurs and puncheurs. The hilly and winding course is very much to our team’s liking, so we are really looking forward to kicking off things in a couple of days.”
Photo credit: ©Sigfrid Eggers