A strong squad capable of being in the mix on all terrains will be at the start of next week’s World Tour race.
Seventeen stage victories, six secondary classifications and two overall wins have made the BinckBankTour a happy hunting ground over the years for Deceuninck – Quick-Step, who’ll go into the 15th edition as firm leader of the World Team Classification, which our outfit tops since the end of March 2017.
Taking place between 12-18 August, the race will give plenty of opportunities to the sprinters in the first half, before shifting its attention to the GC men, who’ll face quite the test on the stage around Houffalize, short (96 kilometers) but punctuated by nine hard climbs. A flat 8.4km-long individual time trial and a leg-sapping stage to Geraardsbergen, which will include several ascents of the legendary Muur-Kapelmuur and Bosberg, will then weigh decisively in the final outcome.
Philippe Gilbert, Bob Jungels and Zdenek Stybar – riders who between them have won four of this year’s seven cobbled Classics – will headline a strong Deceuninck – Quick-Step team that won’t be short of options next week, at the 31st World Tour event of the season. Joining them for the 15th edition of the BinckBank Tour will be Tim “El Tractor” Declercq, Alvaro Hodeg, who so far this season has amassed five victories, most recent of which came at the Adriatica Ionica Race, the experienced Iljo Keisse, and Le Samyn winner Florian Sénéchal.
“The route isn’t an easy one, but it’s always like this at the BinckBank Tour. The short Ardennes-type stage should be very tough, full gas right from the start, and could end up having quite a big impact on the race, but ultimately, the GC will be played on the final day”, said sports director Tom Steels. “It’s a race that suits us, and in Philippe, Bob and Styby we have three riders who can have a say in the overall standings, while Alvaro will go for the bunch sprints, where he is capable of getting some nice results.”
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