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by Shane Stokes
September 5, 2017
In today’s edition of the Daily News Digest: Viviani wins stage two of the Tour of Britain after Boasson-Hagen relegated; Boasson Hagen responds to relegation; Phinney disqualified from Tour of Britain; Dennis out of Vuelta, Frankiny also forced to withdraw; UCI rejects criticism of hidden motor tests, but Stade 2 report raises important questions; Haig extends with Orica-Scott; Gilbert and Van Avermaet named as leaders for Belgian world championship squad; Starting the Race to the Rock with a huge handicap; Tech: Wattbike launches new indoor trainer for home users; Video: Red Hook Crit Barcelona; Video: Orica-Scott Backstage pass from stage 15 of the Vuelta a España; Video: 2017 UCI Women’s WorldTour – Boels Rental Ladies Tour, highlights day 6; Video: When roadies go off-road
After successful seasons, Classic specialists Philippe Gilbert and Greg Van Avermaet have been designated the leaders of the Belgian squad in the upcoming world road race championships in Bergen. “Gilbert and Van Avermaet will be our leaders and the rest of the team will work for them,” said teammate Tim Wellens in a Lotto-Soudal press release.
“But you never know exactly how a race can unfold. It’s therefore always better to come to the World Championships with a strong team, and I think that’s the case with our selection. It’s prestigious to represent your country in the World Championships and I’m very happy to be a part of it.”
Also on the squad will be Wellens’ teammate Tiesj Benoot. Fellow Lotto-Soudal rider Tony Gallopin will be part of the French selection, while Lotte Kopecky (women’s elite road race) and Senne Leysen (under 23 women’s time trial) will also be riding.
“I’m looking forward to riding in the World Championships,” said Benoot, who is recognised as one of the best young riders from the country. “Belgium is maybe the country where it’s the most difficult to be selected, especially when you see the list of riders who haven’t made it into the selection. As far as the race is concerned, Oliver Naesen, Jasper Stuyven, Tim Wellens and I will have to make the race as hard as possible. Our objective is to take Gilbert and Van Avermaet in an ideal position into the finale, preferably in a small group.
“There is no point for us to end up in a larger peloton with Boasson Hagen, Kristoff and Sagan. Some say the course is not hard enough, but I think it could well be the case depending on the weather.”