Dimension Data’s Bernie Eisel said doing well in the Tour of Flanders, which takes place in Belgium tomorrow, was all about positioning.
He said the first section of the 270.1km race was “just a training ride” until the riders got to the first cobbles, or crunch-point, of the route.
“You already have 150km in your legs and normally in other races you are going into the final at that point. But here you still have 120km to go with all the major climbs waiting for you.”
For them it was going to be about positioning, finding the right moment to be in the right group and not waiting.
“That is the point for the helpers on the day, to get the guys to around the 180km mark without them spending energy up to that point, and get them safely through.”
From there, tactics and strength in the legs would come into play.
“We are talking about one of the hardest races of the season. The problem with the classics is that there is no place to hide and that is the beauty of the sport.”
He said at the classics when you were at the top you were at the top and if you were not there then you were nowhere.
“This is where we have been struggling at the moment, but there are great signs of better form and that is really good.
“Our focus is definitely on Eddy [Edval Boasson Hagen] with probably Michael [Valgren] and Reinie [Reinardt Janse van Rensburg] to have a bit of an outsider role.”
He said Hagen would captain the team at the 103rd edition of the race, but they could not expect miracles of the trio since one could not hide at the Tour of Flanders and the best riders would be up at the front.
He added that their spirit was good, as was with the weather, and that “crazy Belgium” was ready for the race.
“There are already thousands of riders on the road ahead of the sportive. Bring on Sunday!”
The race will start in Antwerp and finish in Oudenaarde.
The full DiData team can be viewed below:
Michael Valgren (classics specialist)
Edval Boasson Hagen (classics specialist)
Bernie Eisel (all-rounder)
Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (leadout)
Julien Vermote (all-rounder)
Lars Bak (all-rounder)
Jay Thomson (all-rounder)