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Mitchelton-SCOTT ready to get back into the Belgian action at Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne

Sun 24 Mar 2019

It’s back to Belgium for Mitchelton-SCOTT as three-weeks of cobbled classics racing kicks-off with the Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne on Wednesday.

The squad boasts plenty of power amongst its ranks with Slovenian Luka Mezgec lining-up for his first race on Belgian soil this season. The 30-year-old will be looking to be in the mix in the finale with former runner-up Luke Durbridge also an option on the tough cobbled roads.

Mitchelton-SCOTT Team:
Edoardo Affini (ITA, 22)
Jack Bauer (NZL, 33)
Luke Durbridge (AUS, 27)
Alex Edmonson (AUS, 25)
Michael Hepburn (AUS, 27)
Luka Mezgec (SLO, 30)
Callum Scotson (AUS, 22)

The Course:
After previously being a three-day race, the format for Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne changed to a one-day event in 2018, providing teams with a mid-week race ahead of E3 Harelbeke and Gent Wevelgem.

The new 200.3km route from Brugge to De Panne features five climbs including the Monteberg and Kemmelberg, as well six cobbled sectors along the way. The peloton will then head towards the coast for the finishing circuit in De Panne.

The finale will be frantic as teams try to get organised for a sprint finish, while others could use the opportunity to launch attacks if the wind plays its part.

History:
Durbridge has a string of top 10 results at the race in its previous incarnation as a three-day event, finishing seventh on three occasions, with his best results coming in 2014 where he finished second overall.

Luka Mezgec:
“The feeling in the legs is really good lately. I felt good in the final at Milan-San Remo, so that is definitely a good sign before the upcoming Belgian campaign.”

“I have done De Panne every year since I turned pro, and this is the race where physical shape is not as important as positioning during the race.”

“As always in Belgium, the wind is a big factor and we will have to be on point in every important sector to make sure we are in the right position.”

“The final finishing circuit is always tricky, so as with all of these races you also need a bit of luck on your side.”

Laurezno Lapage (Sports Director):
“De Panne is the first race in a row of important races, all with their own characteristics. De Panne with the wind or without wind is a different race entirely, but at the moment it seems the weather will be very good and almost no wind.”

“The predictions are that the race finishes in a sprint with around 30-40 riders coming to the finish, but this depends on how hard the race is before the finishing circuits.”

“With some cobblestone sections and a hilly zone in the middle and the fact it’s now a WorldTour race, it gives a lot of riders enough possibilities to make the race hard and extra motivation."

“For our team we have some guys to play with and if it comes to a sprint we have Mezgec, so we have options for sure.”

Photos courtesy of Getty Images.

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