Lotto Belisol gave its press conference for the 68th Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in De Cellen in Oostkamp, the castle is owned by sponsor Callant Verzekeringen. The Omloop is the first race in the Belgian opening weekend. Jürgen Roelandts is one of the favourites. Other candidates for the victory are Greg Van Avermaet, Niki Terpstra, last year’s winner Sep Vanmarcke and Belgian national champion Tom Boonen.
Jürgen Roelandts: “I am proud to start as one of the favourites, especially after I had to miss the classics last year because of an injury. The Omloop is a race I love to ride. I am very motivated to ride over the Flemish hills between all the spectators. Thanks to my stage win in the Tour Méditerranéen I am very confident, I am really glad I won there.”
“During our recon I felt some nuisance of my right middle finger, so my position is a bit more tense because I want to protect myself. But the condition is great. The cold weather won’t bother me, the temperature in the Tour Méditerranéen was comparable to here in Belgium. I expect Blanco, BMC and Omega Pharma – QuickStep to be strong tomorrow. Traditionally the fight will start in the area of the Kruisberg and Taaienberg. Before the start I will probably be a bit nervous, but most of all I am looking forward to the race. Last year I left the hospital about this time. To be a cyclist again makes me happy.”
Manager Marc Sergeant: “The start of the season couldn’t be any better for us; we have ten victories in UCI races and the win of André Greipel in the criterium before the Tour Down Under. The whole team is riding at a high level. This weekend we will have one leader in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad; tomorrow that will be Jürgen Roelandts. The cold will definitely play its part, but he’s prepared for it.”