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by Shane Stokes
March 31, 2018
Van Avermaet on Flanders: ‘I hope this year is my year’; Benoot ‘ready to go full on Sunday’; Degenkolb says Flanders leadership is for Stuyven, he will target Roubaix; Gilbert: ‘We are confident in the team’s strength’; Vanmarcke, Langeveld re-sign with EF Education First – Drapac; Brennauer: Even without Longo Borghini, Wiggle High5 ‘has more than one card to play’; Martinez released from hospital, will not race until concussion is gone; Commemorating Mike Hall; Video: Maniac Does Wheelies On An Exposed Beam 130 Feet High
Trek-Segafredo will start Sunday’s Tour of Flanders with two big guns, former Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix winner John Dengekolb and Belgian hope Jasper Stuyven, but sees one in particular as its biggest chance.
“I think that with Jasper we have someone who can finish it off. He will be our leader, that’s clear,” said Degenkolb. “He was super strong in all the races until now. Of course, I will try to save as much energy as possible to come as far as possible, to be there until the end. I will try to anticipate as much as I can, so that I can be there to help the team. Anyway, my focus lies more on next week, on Paris-Roubaix. I also believe that missing out on Milano-Sanremo can make the difference for Flanders, to be on that higher level needed for this race.”
Degenkolb was sick during Paris-Nice, pulling out of that race and missing Milan-San Remo. In contrast, Stuyven was tenth in San Remo, sixth in the E3 Harelbeke, ninth in Gent-Wevelgem and tenth in the Dwars door Vlaanderen.
“I managed to finish in the top 10 in every Classic until now,” he said. “I think that shows I am close to that breakthrough. I don’t think it’s a coincidence I was up there every time and also making the race. On the other hand, I don’t see this as an extra pressure that I need to get this breakthrough result now. Things are going very well and I will keep fighting to grab that win, for sure.
“I think this year the difference between getting a top 10 spot and winning is not really big because the gap between me and the winner has never been big. Also, there has never been two or three guys making a huge gap on the chasing group. So, I guess it’s a little bit of luck, maybe a little bit better legs to be a little bit fresher in the final. It’s about the little details that need to come together at the right moment.”