Youthful Mitchelton-SCOTT squad keen to get stuck into the ClassicsThu 27 Feb 2020
The 2020 classics season gets underway this weekend as Mitchelton-SCOTT line-up in Belgium for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brusel-Kuurne.
The squad boasts a mixture of youth and experience, with the likes of Australian Luke Durbridge tackling ‘opening weekend’ for the fifth time, while 21-year-old Alexander Konychev will get his first taste.
Edoardo Affini (ITA, 23)
Sam Bewley (NZL, 32)
Luke Durbridge (AUS, 28)
Alex Edmondson (AUS, 26)
Alex Konychev (ITA, 21)
Dion Smith (NZL, 26)
Rob Stannard (AUS, 21)
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad kicks-off the classics season with a course featuring 13 bergs and 14 cobbled sectors, including famous climbs such as the Muur, Molenberg and the Bosberg. The race begins in Ghent before winding into the countryside for various loops taking in the numerous bergs and cobblestones littered around Flanders.
The peloton will then head west towards the finish in Ninove, with the Bosberg coming as the final major test for the bunch on 200km route.
Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne is slightly longer at 203 kilometres in length, but the course is slightly more forgiving. Heading away from Kuurne, the peloton will take in five cobbled sectors and 11 bergs, before looping back around and heading for the finish. The final climb comes with more than 50 kilometres to go, and as a result the race often comes down to a bunch finish.
“I’m really looking forward to ‘opening weekend’. Obviously, everyone is ready to test their form and test their training that they’ve done over the winter months. For me it’s always a good test coming off an altitude training camp in Sierra Nevada, just to see where my condition is at.”
“The classics are big focus for the team and for myself for sure, but it’s this weekend is a good time to test equipment and give it a red hot crack and race with no pressure.”
“For me personally I’d like to finish up there in the results and we have a strong team here for both days. We have a young squad, but we have a keen squad and we have some guys that are really going to be big potentials in the classics this year and the years to come.”
“It will be nice for this group to gel together this weekend. So for me, I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a wet, windy, cold one, but it’s good to get it over and done with and get into it.”
“I’ve done a different pre-season this year compared to other years. I didn’t go back to Australia for the summer as I wanted to try and spend some time in the cold as I never usually feel it as I always chase the sun with the European and Aussie summer of racing."
“Obviously I’m stoked for It to be the classics season again. Looking at the forecast for this weekend it looks like it’s going to be filthy weather conditions so fingers crossed spending the pre-season In the British winter will pay off!”
“I’ve gotten some good confidence out of last week at Ruta del Sol, so I’m looking forward to hopefully carrying that into this weekend.”
Laurenzo Lapage (Sports Director):
“I think after what we have shown in the last weeks as a team we can see that all the boys have worked well this winter, they’re all in good condition and also with the results in the team in the recent weeks, everyone is happy and feeling motivated to show where they are at the moment.”
“These are the first classics of the season and it’s a completely different style of racing, especially with the weather as the weather doesn’t look so good for the weekend, so that can be a big difference.”
“In the team we start with here we have guys with experience mixed with young guys and with the young guys we can see that that they are really motivated to do these races.”
“Durbridge is someone who has been up there in the past. He’s a guy who loves these classics. From the beginning he’s a rider who loves to be here and he’s put a lot of time and effort in. Also, I think with what we saw from Edmondson at Ruta del Sol, he’s in great condition and with what he’s done in the past, he was a former winner of the under 23 Flanders, it shows that this style of racing suits him too.”
2020 Opening Weekend Race Details:
Saturday, 29th February: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, 200km
Sunday, 1st March: Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, 203km