The next phase of the season kicks into gear on Sunday with the start of the Ardennes Classics as the team prepares to tackle the Amstel Gold Race.
For our African team the 260km course that zig-zags across the Netherlands will hopefully be blessed with a performance of similar quality that saw former rider Nathan Haas (now Katusha-Alpecin) finish 4th in 2017.
Philippe Gilbert (Quickstep-Floors), who has won this event four times, is the defending champion but our team go into the event in confident mood and generally in good form.
The race features over 30 short, sharp climbs and has featured numerous small changes in recent years with a change in the final circuit in 2018 that should prove yet another interesting challenge.
Our team sees Serge Pauwels, Tom-Jelte Slagter, Scott Davies, Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier, Ben King, Johann van Zyl and Jaco Venter all feature with hopes high of improving on last year’s result.
JP Heynderickx – Sport Director
From Sunday on we are starting a new kind of races, the Ardennes Classics which are completely different from the races that we had before, the Cobblestones Classics. First one is Amstel Gold which is a very hard one with 35 climbs or so in it. Knowledge of the parcours is very important, which is why we did a recon on Friday of the last 70km of the race.
We have a couple of riders who know the parcours in Tom-Jelte Slagter and Serge Pauwels. The latter last week was in really good condition and he’s ready to put in a big performance in the coming weeks.
Cover image explained
With our service course in the Netherlands and our team mate, Tom, we have a special place in our hearts for the Amstel Gold Race.
Mid-April is tulip season in Holland and while the race does not pass through the tulip bollenstreek, we still decided to have bright orange tulips that echo the Netherlands’ national colour.
We look forward to racing in our “second home” in this revered Classic race. Hup, hup!