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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion
Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories

February Races

First, here is a list of races we'll cover in late January and early February. Looks like it will be a busy couple of weeks. We generally cover races ranked 1.1 or 2.1 and higher:

January 29 - February 1: Challenge Illes Balears-Volta Ciclista a Mallorca. Four races, Trofeo Santanyi, Trofeo Andratx, Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana and Trofeo Palma. All ranked 1.1

February 1: Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race (1.1), Australia

February 1: Grand Prix Cycliste la Marseillaise (1.1), France

February 4 - 7: Dubai Tour (HC), United Arab Emirates

February 4 - 8: Etoile de Bessèges, (2.1), France

February 4 - 8: Herald Sun Tour (2.1) Australia

February 8: G.P. Costa degli Etruschi (1.1), Italy

February 8 - 13: Tour of Qatar (2.HC), Qatar

Lotto-Soudal sent this press release explaining the team's plans for the Challenge Mallorca:

"The Challenge Mallorca is the first Europe Tour race of the season. The race consists of four individual races, four Trofeos. There is no overall classification. The teams can start each Trofeo with another selection.

Andre Greipel

André Greipel will be racing the Challenge Mallorca for Lotto-Soudal

"On Thursday 29th January, the peloton kicks off the Challenge Mallorca with the Trofeo Santanyí. The first stage is 175 kilometres long and has five bonus sprints and five climbs of the fourth category. This can't be a problem for the sprinters, so a bunch sprint is expected at the finish line in Campos. The second day is a bit harder. Along the coast line the peloton rides 149 kilometres from Andratx to Mirador d’Es Colomer. Four intermediate sprints, two third category climbs and a climb of second category at sixty kilometres from the finish should cause a decimation. Although the final decision will be at the finish line. That finish line is drawn at the top of a steep climb with gradients over 10 %.

"Stage three is full of climbs and descents. Only the best climbers will survive two fourth category and third category climbs, and three climbs of second category. The last twenty kilometres is a long descent which makes it possible for finishers to rejoin the leaders and battle for the victory in Deià. On the last day of the Challenge Mallorca the peloton only has to deal with the Coll des Grau. It’s a third category climb at fifty kilometres from the finish line. After 168 racing kilometres a bunch sprint is expected in Palma.

"Bart Leysen, sports director: “It would be nice to get our first victory of the season in Mallorca. The riders know the Spanish roads well because of their training camps. The first and last day are suited for our sprinters André Greipel and Jens Debusschere. Greipel didn’t start his season, for the first time in seven years, in the Tour Down Under. So he is extremely motivated to get his first victory of the season in Mallorca. Debusschere was already second in a stage last year. It’s possible that we decide during the race that our leading man for the bunch sprint will be the Belgian champion.”

“The second and third Trofeo will suit our climbers, an ideal moment to test their legs. Especially the third stage is very hard. We have got Tim Wellens and Jelle Vanendert to take their chance and strive for the win. Besides that, youngsters Tiesj Benoot and Louis Vervaeke can show themselves. They race at a high level and hopefully they can get good results. Because there is no GC, the riders can look at the Challenge Mallorca day by day.”

"Selection Lotto Soudal: Tiesj Benoot, Stig Broeckx, Jens Debusschere, Bart De Clercq, André Greipel, Jürgen Roelandts, Marcel Sieberg, Dennis Vanendert, Jelle Vanendert, Louis Vervaeke and Tim Wellens.

"Sports directors: Bart Leysen and Kurt Van de Wouwer."

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