Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens lead Lotto Soudal's GC aspirations in Tirreno-Adriatico
Mar 12 2019 05:52 am CET

Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens lead Lotto Soudal's GC aspirations in Tirreno-Adriatico
Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens lead Lotto Soudal's GC aspirations in Tirreno-Adriatico
Image: Lotto Soudal logo

Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens will lead Lotto-Soudal's GC aspirations in Tirreno-Adriatico. The 54th edition of the race is suitable for classics riders with the absence of real mountain stages.

The Italian race will kick out with a team time trial in Lido di Camaiore and will finish with an individual test against the clock in San Benedetto del Tronto. The rest of the stages bring a mix between flat courses and hilly challenges that make the fight for the overall victory a matter for time triallists and puncheurs.

"There is no real mountain stage and not even a mountain finish in this year’s Tirreno," said sports director Bart Leysen. "That way, the Classics specialists with good climbing abilities can not only compete for stage wins, they also have a shot at the overall win. The top contenders for the Grand Tours certainly won’t have the advantage this year. At Lotto Soudal, we have with Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens two cards to play.

"I expect that five of the seven stages will be important for the general classification. Only the two relatively flat stages won’t play a key role. The team time trial and the individual mission against the clock are part of those five crucial days. Given that in stage races such as Tirreno the GC is decided with a handful of seconds, the team time trial on the very first day will already be of crucial importance. Last year – when we finished sixteenth – was a disappointment for us. The composition of our team this year should allow us to aim higher so that we can start the Tirreno with our two leaders on a good note. The closing time trial – the speciality of Victor Campenaerts – will be an important last hurdle in the overall battle."

The characteristics of Benoot and Wellens make them good contenders for the General Classification. "It is more than likely that a heavily reduced group will go for the victory during the three hilly stages," Leysen commented. "It will mainly be about bringing Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens – who already demonstrated to be really strong finishers – in the best way possible to the line.

"Last year, Tiesj finished fourth in the general classification and in the past, the Belgian also proved that he can manage tough finales really well. In this year’s edition of Tirreno-Adriatico, every second will count. We constantly need to be attentive to avoid losing precious seconds due to possible splits in the peloton."

Lotto Soudal's complete roster for Tirreno-Adriatico (13th to 19th of March):

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




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