Tiesj Benoot to defend Strade Bianche title: I can certainly compete for the victory
Mar 07 2019 09:46 pm CET

Tiesj Benoot to defend Strade Bianche title: I can certainly compete for the victory
Tiesj Benoot to defend Strade Bianche title: I can certainly compete for the victory
Photo of Tiesj Benoot by Lotto Soudal

Lotto Soudal's Tiesj Benoot is set to return to defend his title at Strade Bianche. Despite the crash he suffered at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the Belgian hopes to play a good role in the Italian race.

Benoot crashed out of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and had to get stitches on his left knee, but despite this, he looks forward to starting in Strade Bianche, a race that he won in 2018. "The Strade Bianche is one of the races which suits me the best," he commented. "Last year, I won but also in the previous years I obtained a good result, so I am really looking forward to it. It will be special to start with number 1 in a race of that calibre. For me, the finish at the Piazza del Campo in Siena is one of the most beautiful ones, maybe together with the Champs-Élysées. It is thus a special place for me.

"It will be very difficult to repeat last year’s performance but with the legs I had during the Omloop, I can certainly compete for the victory. I hope to have the same feeling on Saturday but the shape is already good. Of course, the crash was not ideal. My knee has been stitched and we will have to evaluate how it heals day by day."

Benoot knows the course perfectly well and already has an idea in how the race can develop. "There are a lot of heavy gravel roads but the biggest break-up will probably take place after the two long sections just before the feed zone," the Belgian explained. "The area of Monte Sante Marie is very technical with some steep parts uphill and downhill.

"It is really a gruelling race which is underestimated by many riders. Percentage-wise there is even more gravel in the Strade Bianche than cobbles in Paris-Roubaix. Moreover, there are around 3,000 altimeters to overcome. Last year, the cold weather also had an influence. The forecasts are better now but I do not focus on that since the course is tough enough to make the difference."

Lotto Soudal's complete line-up for Strade Bianche (9th of March):

Tiesj Benoot
Carl Fredrik Hagen
Jens Keukeleire
Tomasz Marczy?ski
Lawrence Naesen
Tosh Van der Sande
Tim Wellens




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