Team Novo Nordisk hit the North next week with back-to-back one day races in Belgium at Dwars door het Hageland followed by Elfstedenronde.
The world’s first all diabetes professional cycling team return to the hard and unforgiving cobbles for the first time since last year’s Brabantse Pijl prepared for some tough racing to lead them into the fast-approaching Baloise Belgium Tour.
“These two races open up a solid ten-day block of racing in Belgium for us,” said Sports Director Gennady Mikhaylov. “With the Baloise Belgium Tour coming up a couple of days later, we are hoping that Hageland and Elfstedenronde will get us back into the hard northern European style of racing and ready to hit the cobblestones once again.”
“We’ll be ready to go on Saturday, it’s going to be an intense weekend of racing, but it will be a great experience for some of our guys who haven’t raced in Belgium before and that will be invaluable for them and the team.’
American first year pro Logan Phippen returns for his first races since Belgrade Banjaluka with French puncheur Charles Planet and experienced teammate Joonas Henttala all coming straight from the recent Tour de la Mirabelle.
“I was a little bit disappointed with missing out on a top ten stage result at Mirabelle,” said Planet. “It’s my home race and I desperately wanted to do well there, but I struggled with some sickness after the Tour de Hongrie and that affected my preparation.”
“I’m over that now, recovered and fully focused on Belgium and these next races. We have a good team lining up and we’re motivated to make the most of the opportunities we will have throughout the three races.”
An untimely crash at last week’s Tour of Estonia makes sprinter Andrea Peron a doubt whilst 22-year-old Australian Declan Irvine put in a strong performance in Estonia last week and will be joined by Irishman Stephen Clancy and Italian all-rounder Umberto Poli.
First up is the 18th edition of Dwars door het Hageland on Saturday and a 180 kilometer parcours peppered with short, sharp bergs and closing with what are set to be very fast finishing circuits.
Rounding out the weekend is the 38th edition of the one-day semi classic Elfstedenronde, first held way back in 1943 and formerly known as the Bruges Cycling Classic. The race covers 193 kilometers and traditionally favours the sprinters.
Team Novo Nordisk at Dwars door het Hageland and Elfstedenronde, 5th & 6th June:
Stephen Clancy (IRL, 28)
Joonas Henttala (FIN, 29)
Declan Irvine (AUS, 22)
Andrea Peron (IT, 32)
Logan Phippen (USA, 29)
Charles Planet (FR, 27)
Umberto Poli (IT, 24)
— tnn to www.teamnovonordisk.com