Lotto Belisol to start 2013 season in Gabon, Australia and Argentina

In the long run-up to the classics of 2013, Lotto Belisol chooses a different path than in 2012. Last year the team started among other in Qatar, Oman, the Algarve and Andalusia, now this will be Gabon, Argentina and Bessèges.

Sports manager Marc Segeant: “The Tour Down Under, a WorldTour race, is a certainty. Ten years ago it was an adventure to go to Australia during the preparation, but now it is logical for guys like Greipel and Roelandts. We won’t ride The Tour of Qatar or Oman, but we might go back in the future. The organization asks to come with a strong roster, but last year we noticed that riding Qatar and possibly Oman too right away after the Tour Down Under is a bit too much. Several of those guys got ill in Paris-Nice.”

“The Tropicale Amissa Bongo in Gabon will be a discovery, though last year already several well-known teams started there. We are going with a young selection of six riders, who can get back in the competition rhythm by riding stages of 120 to 150 kilometers. In the Tour de San Luis in Argentina Jurgen Van den Broeck will get the chance to ride his first competition calmly and without any pressure. At the end of January some riders will race in the GP La Marseillaise and the Etoile de Bessèges, a five days race. In the past that was the real start of the preparation, but now we see that there is also internationalization in the preparing stage of the season. The advantage is that riders can be active in better weather.”

“We have to see what comes next, partly because of the crisis in Spain and Portugal. The Trofeo Mallorca is now four days long instead of two, and a training camp will follow for those who race on the island. Normally we also participate in the Tour of the Mediterranean, and also those riders will go to training camp in Mallorca, because it is very uncertain that the Tour of the Algarve and the Ruta del Sol will take place, so we have to anticipate a possible period without competition before the Flemish opening weekend.”

Programme January

  • 14th to 20th of January: Tropicale Amissa Bongo (Gabon)
  • 21st to 27th of January: Tour de San Luis (Argentina)
  • 22nd to 27th of January: Tour Down Under (Australia) with Down Under Classic on the 20th of January
  • 27th of January: GP Cycliste La Marseillaise
  • 30th of January to 3rd of February: Etoile de Bessèges (France)

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