cycling news / Circuit des Ardennes welcomes Leopard Pro Cycling
AT CIRCUIT DES ARDENNES, LEOPARD PRO CYCLING HOPES TO FOLLOW UP THE VERY GOOD RESULTS THAT THE TEAM COLLECTED RECENTLY AT TOUR DE NORMANDIE AND TRIPTYQUE DES MONTS ET CHÂTEAUX. IN THE NORTHEAST OF FRANCE – CLOSE TO HOME IN LUXEMBOURG – THE TEAM AWAITS A DIFFICULT RACE.
ROSTER: Jan Brockhoff, Alexander Krieger, Gaëtan Pons, Charlie Quarterman, Szymon Rekita & Jens Reynders – DS: Gregor Willwohl
Circuit des Ardennes, the name says it all. A difficult race in the Ardennes, close to the border with Luxembourg, consisting of four demanding stages where the peloton will go up and down every day. The race has a total of 23 KOM sprints, not to mention all uncategorized climbs that needs to be covered as well. Tomorrow, 25 teams are making their presence at the start in Bazeilles, amongst which are three UCI Professional Continental teams and 15 of the strongest UCI Continental teams. Jhonatan Narvaez (Quick Step), Lukasz Wisniowski (Sky) and Jan Bakelants (AG2R) are previous winners of the race, which means that the race favorites are the ones that have a lot to offer.
Starting and finishing in Bazeilles on day one, the first stage takes the riders already over some difficult climbs and with a hard uphill section with its top at 12 kilometers from the finish line, the first riders will already lose hope for ending the race in a good overall ranking. The second day brings a 175 kilometers stage from Beauraing (Belgium) to Givet. Also here, the route is all but easy with two local laps on a finishing circuit that has amongst others the Côte du Strépi with gradients to 13% in it. On Sunday, there will be two stages in one day. The first demanding one goes from Donchery to Vivier-au-Court over just 79,5 kilometers. Anyone that needs to repair any disadvantages in the different classifications can still have a go in the stage in the afternoon that takes the riders from and to Charleville-Mézières over a distance of 106 kilometers. In both stages, a lot of climbing awaits the riders as expected.
In the past Leopard Pro Cycling did not have much successes in this race. Last year, Alexander Krieger was the fist rider in the general classification in nineteenth position and besides this, in recent years there were only a few top ten stage finishes by Leopard riders. One of those riders is Jan Brockhoff who crashed out of the Tour de Normandie and who is more than happy to be back in the peloton.
Jan Brockhoff: “So far my season has been a bit disappointing. The Tour de Normandie was one of my main goals of the season, but I crashed out of it in the fourth stage with a bruised knee. Now, everything has healed well and I am ready for the next races after a solid block of training. I expect the Circuit des Ardennes to be a really hard stage race because we will have to climb endless hills in the Ardennes. It’s up and down for most of the time every single day. In the end it’s often about keeping the pace of the first bunch, which makes it an elimination race. Besides we need to focus on being present in strong groups and watch out for attacks in the hills. The last day can also be very decisive with two short stages in one day. We will have to see who is able to deal best with these conditions.“
06.04 | 1 | Bazeilles – Bazeilles (172,6 km)
07.04 | 2 | Beauraing – Givet (175,4 km)
08.04 | 3a | Donchery – Vivier-au-Court (79,5 km)
08.04 | 3b | Charleville-Mézières – Charleville-Mézières (106,0 km)