The 100th edition of Ronde van Vlaanderen is approaching and the preparation of CCC Sprandi Polkowice for that legendary event is getting more and more intense. To get ready, the “orange squad” will take part in the three build-up race – Energiewacht Ronde van Drenthe (12.03), Nokere Koerse – Danilith Classic (16.03) and Handzame Classic (18.03, 1.1).
All of those events are held in the Benelux countries – one in Netherlands and two in Belgium. The riders will have the opportunity to test their legs and get used to racing on specific, narrow, cobblestone roads, in hard, windy and rainy weather conditions.
Energiewacht Ronde van Drenthe (1.1) has a flat profile and is 197 kilometers long. Between 140 and 170 kilometer mark there are some short climbs, where attackers may try their chances. The bunch may also split on one of the cobble sections or in the cross wind. One has to ride in the front of the group, to not crash and not lose contact with the main pack on twisty roads in Hoogeveen. Adrian Kurek and Tomasz Kiendyś should do well in such terrain and conditions.
Last year a 6-man group arrived at the line and Edward Theuns took the win. Shredded peloton came in 14 seconds behind. The history shows, that it is very unlikely that the race will end with a bunch sprint.
That may be the case in Nokere Koerse – Danilith Classic (1.HC) and Handzame Classic (1.1) though. Both of them are held in the West Flanders and in previous season they were decided in a mass finish, even though they don’t look easy on paper. Grzegorz Stępniak, Bartłomiej Matysiak or Eryk Latoń may have the opportunity to sprint for the top 5 result.
Nokere Koerse – Danilith Classic is 200 kilometers long, and the final 120 run on 15-kilometer lap, with a 350-meter Nokereberg climb (avg.6%), which will be tackled 8 times. Not only sprinters should be included in the group of the favorites – also strong and massive riders, who can sprint uphill.
Handzame Classic will start in Bredene and after covering 150 kilometers, filled with short, but steep (up to 15%) bergs and cobblestone sectors, the peloton will enter the city of Handzame. The final part of the race consists of three 17-kilometer circuits, with Ruidenberg climb.
All three races are tailored for Belgian and Dutch riders. In the total 128 editions, only on 10 occasions the race has been won by somebody from a different country than those two.
Lineup for Energiewacht Ronde van Drenthe (12.03, 1.1), Nokere Koerse – Danilith Classic (16.03. 1.HC): Bartłomiej Matysiak, Josef Cerny, Grzegorz Stępniak, Marcin Mrożek, Eryk Latoń, Tomasz Kiendyś, Adrian Kurek
Lineup for Handzame Classic (18.03, 1.1): Josef Cerny, Grzegorz Stępniak, Marcin Mrożek, Eryk Latoń, Tomasz Kiendyś, Michał Paluta, Patryk Stosz