Cobblestone classics season is starting
With the Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday, March 22th begins the “cobblestone classics” season. The Bahrain Merida Team will race in Belgium with a young and very motivated team and with two leaders who can reach significant results. “With Sonny Colbrelli and Niccolò Bonifazio – says sports director Tristan Hoffman – we have two riders who could be in the final. The others will be very important for helping the captain and also for trying to go in the breakaway. “The Dwars is a heavy race and in the past 5 years the riders came in solo or in a small group”. This Belgian race is 203,3 km long and goes from Roeselare to Waregem. It has many “muur” to climb along the route – as the new Kwaremont, Paterberg and the Nokergerg – with different cobblestone sections.
On Friday 24th there will the 60th edition of the E3 Harelbeke: fifteen sharp climbs and five stretches of paved in a total of 206 km. “The crucial point – says Tristan – is to be in front at the beginning of the “Oude Kwaremont” with only 40 km to go”. Two days later it’s time for Gent-Wewelgem classic. “It’s the most unpredictable part – again the Dutch sport director – with a very fast start, crosswinds and echelons that could decide the race.” The 78th edition will be 241 km long with three sectors of semi-paved road and nine hills. The super-steep Kemmelberg is the last one, crested with 35 km left to race.
“I like all three races – says Sonny Colbrelli – for what I have seen so far in Belgium, experience counts a lot. That’s why I’m very happy to go back to Flanders and learn as much as possible.”
“It’s the third year that I run over there in north Belgium – comments Niccolò Bonifazio – the races are like battles! You have to be very careful each moment, trying to stay always in the front. I like Harelbeke and Dwars.”
Here is the Bahrain Merida Team line-up for all three races: Niccolò Bonifazio, Borut Bozic, Sonny Colbrelli, Ivan Cortina, Chun Kai Feng, Ion Insausti, David Per and Luka Pibernik.