In His Own Words: Sport Director Laurenzo Lapage on Harelbeke and Gent-WevelgemFri 22 Mar 2013
After a successful showing at Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday, ORICA-GreenEDGE lines up for the next two Belgium classics motivated to build on the momentum they created earlier in the week. The team fields two distinct line-ups for the two World Tour events. Sport Director Laurenzo Lapage, in his words, tells you about E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem below.
You see several teams fielding identical or nearly identical line-ups for the three races in Belgium this week. We take a different approach and have made some changes to our rosters. We have big ambitions for these races. The courses are demanding, and bringing in fresh riders will help us achieve these goals.
Meet the E3 Harelbeke squad:
Aidis Kruopis – Aidis will be the rider we look to for the early work. He is a bit behind after his sickness last week but needs this race in terms of his goals for De Panne next week.
Fumy Beppu – Fumy showed again in Dwars door Vlaanderen that he can be an important rider for the team at the classics. His biggest strength is that he makes the work easier for his teammates.
Jens Keukeleire – Jens started the classics really well on Wednesday. He’ll be one our key guys over the next few weeks.
Jens Mouris – Jens plays a pivotal support role for our leaders. He has experience helping his teammates with positioning, and he knows how to turn around a difficult situation.
Luke Durbridge – Durbo had some bad luck at Dwars door Vlaanderen, but he has a big future for these types of races in my opinion. He’ll need to do as many classics as possible to gain the experience necessary to develop into a specialist
Sebastian Langeveld – Sebastian did a really good Milan-Sanremo. He has shown that he is ready and motivated for this period of the year.
Stuart O’Grady – Experience. Experience. Experience. Need I say more about Stuey? He is the perfect captain on the road for a director and he always brings his fighting spirit.
Tomas Vaitkus – Tomas has a similar role to Jens Mouris. His experience allows him to extend the support his race leaders need.
We have ten riders up for eight potential starts at Gent-Wevelgem. We’ll determine who we’ll take to Sunday’s race after E3 Harelbeke on Friday.
The most decisive moment in Harelbeke almost every year is situated around the old Kwaremeont (175K). It is imperative to be at the front at this point. This is where the big guns go. On Sunday, the most important moves happen around the Kemmelberg (170K / 192K) and, if it is windy, on the roads that came shortly after this climb.
Like Dwars door Vlaanderen, E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem showcase the best of Belgium cycling. Thousands and thousands of spectators come out to every race. It’s really impossible to explain the feeling a rider has when he arrives with the team bus to the start of a cobbled classic.
The main characteristics of these races – the cobbles, the bergs, the beer, the frites and the fans – are so distinctly Belgian. Ask 100 riders what they think about racing in the Flanders region, and they’ll tell you about what I am attempting to explain. You have to be here to understand it – and we encourage our fans all over to make a trip to experience the passion of cycling in Belgium firsthand!
ORICA-GreenEDGE for E3 Harelbeke:
ORICA-GreenEDGE for Gent Wevelgem*:
Tomas Vaitkus (reserve)
Aidis Kruopis (reserve)
*We will name eight riders from the ten names above following E3 Harelbeke on Friday. Final roster will be announced via Facebook and Twitter on Saturday.