cycling news / Gaëtan Pons feeling confident towards GP de Lillers
AFTER A SATISFYING START TO THE SEASON AT TOUR OF ANTALYA, LEOPARD PRO CYCLING SETTLED DOWN IN NORTHERN FRANCE FOR THE GP DE LILLERS, A UCI 1.2 RACE THAT RUNS OVER A 18,7 KM LOCAL CIRCUIT THAT NEEDS TO BE COVERED TEN TIMES.
ROSTER: Jan Brockhoff, Konrad Gessner, Alexander Krieger, Pit Leyder, Gaëtan Pons, Jens Reynders & Mario Spengler – DS: Markus Zingen
The last two seasons, Leopard Pro Cycling has not been able to obtain top results in this 187 kilometers long race that has been won by the likes of Thomas Boudat, Damien Nazon, Nico Eeckhout and Jeroen Blijlevens to name a few. Last year, Pit Leyder was the first rider to cross the line in twelfth position, in 2016 this was the case for Alexander Krieger as he finished in fourteenth position. The race starts at 12h30 in the city center of Lillers, after which the race heads into a clockwise direction and where they will find two climbs – Hurionville and Fauquenhem – on each lap. Together with the sprint classification on the finish line in Lillers, there is plenty to battle for. After a good winter and a solid Tour of Antalya, Luxembourger Gaëtan Pons feels confident about the race.
How do you see the possibilities for the GP de Lillers?
Gaëtan Pons: “I think we have very good possibilities, especially if there is a bigger breakaway of about 10 to 15 riders. We have to race agressive like we did at the Tour of Antalya and then we can for sure can be present in this group. If there will be a sprint finish, maybe Konrad is the fastest guy, so we can play different cards tomorrow.”
How do you feel about the winter and the first race of the season in Antalya?
Gaëtan Pons: “I am very satisfied with my preparations, I already feel much better than I did in the previous seasons. I have done a great job at the gym and also during the two training camps in Mallorca. Tour of Antalya was a perfect stage race to get back into the rhythm and to improve the shape. I now that I am heading into the right direction, which give me a relaxed feeling. At the Tour of Antalya I could already sense that I improved a lot on the climbs day by day. On the final day my breakaway was only caught with five kilometers to go. This was bad luck, but these efforts and the agressive racing style will certainly pay off in the next races.”
What do you think about this year’s team?
Gaëtan Pons: “It’s good to see that the team is more specific. We of course have Konrad Gessner now, who is a pure sprinter, Luc Wirtgen is a real climber, Szymon Rekita is a complete rider, Alexander Krieger is an allrounder and I feel like a breakaway rider. The mood in the team is super good and everybody is motivated to perform. We know that if we have to play one card, all the guys are ready to give their best for this one goal.”
04.03 | Grand Prix Cycliste International de la ville de Lillers (187 km)