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Preview National Championships - Fighting for the road race title in six countries

Preview National Championships - Fighting for the road race title in six countries

After the time trials of the national championships, which notably saw the victory of Rein Taaramäe in Estonia, the riders of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux will compete in the road race event in their respective countries this Sunday, June 20. Twenty-three riders of the team, from six different countries, will participate in the fight for the national title on the same day.

Belgium - J. Bakelants : "An attacking behavior in Waregem"

All the Belgian riders of the team, except Quinten Hermans, will be starting at 12:05 pm at the Hippodrome Waregem. The 221 kilometers of the course will be divided into three series of local circuits: four called Briek Schotte (18.2 km each), four others called André Defoort (20.7 km) and finally four 16.1 km laps including the cobbled sections of Heerlegemstraat, Holstraat (hilly), Karmeldreef (hilly), Brouwerijstraat, Rooseveltlaan and Verbindingsweg. The successor of Dries De Bondt will be known around 5:25 pm. Fourth last year, Jan Bakelants will participate for the eleventh time in the road race event with the same offensive spirit that animated him at the Critérium Dauphiné at the beginning of the month. 

Jan Bakelants :
"For sure, it's not the route that suits me best. But I have the belief that it's the riders who can make it difficult or not, and that's why we will be driven by an attacking mindset. The breakaways make these championships demanding, even if we are not talking about a route like La Roche-en-Ardenne in 2013 or the Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure in 2016 similar to the Worlds. You never know what can happen, a surprise like last year is always possible, especially as for me the form is excellent."

Starting : Jan Bakelants, Aimé De Gendt, Jasper De Plus, Ludwig De Winter, Tom Devriendt, Baptiste Planckaert, Kévin van Melsen, Pieter Vanspeybrouck, Loïc Vliegen



Netherlands - W. Kreder : "We are able to strongly influence the outcome"

In the Netherlands, the course is organized around the Col du VAM, in the village of Wijster (Drenthe). The 7.3-kilometer circuit, which will have to be completed 27 times, features the last 500 meters at an average of 7%, and even a passage culminating at 24%. Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux will line up with its six Dutch riders at the start, including podium men Danny van Poppel (2nd in 2018, 3rd in 2015) and Wesley Kreder (3rd in 2014).

Wesley Kreder :
"We often say that after a Grand Tour the legs respond better, in any case I am in better shape than last year. I digested the Giro d'Italia quite well. It will be a hard, explosive circuit. If I don't feel like I can play a role for the final, I can always help the other team members. Because I know that Danny van Poppel and Maurits Lammertink can achieve a good result on Sunday, not to mention Taco Van der Hoorn who is tireless. We are able to strongly influence the race with our six guys."

Starting : Wesley Kreder, Maurits Lammertink, Corné van Kessel, Taco Van der Hoorn, Boy van Poppel, Danny van Poppel

Italy - 3600m of elevation in the 2020 Worlds route

Imola, the recent host city of the World Road Championships which crowned Julian Alaphilippe last September, will be the theatre of the national title fight in Italy this Sunday. La Cima Gallisterna (2.3 km at 7%), the decisive climb in the rainbow jersey race, will return on Sunday and will have to be completed 5 times. The 225 kilometers display an overall elevation worthy of a mountain stage: 3677 meters in total.

Andrea Pasqualon :
"Without a doubt, it will be a climber-puncher who can win. Even though it's going to be difficult for me to compete with the lighter riders, that doesn't mean I won't try anything. We will not take the start just to pin a number, we want to influence the result. With Simone Petilli, we also have a boy who can be offensive and go far on Sunday. To add difficulty to this already selective course, the temperature should climb around 40°C, which will be a factor to take into account."

Starting : Riccardo Minali, Andrea Pasqualon, Simone Petilli

Germany - Georg Zimmermann targets the podium

The German Federation has chosen the city of Stuttgart to host the road race. More precisely, the 7.1 kilometers of the circuit will bypass the Stuttgart TV Tower, starting from Filderstadt. The two Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux riders, Jonas Koch and Georg Zimmermann, will be at the start of the 185 kilometers divided into 25 laps. Each lap has an elevation of 122 meters, for a total of more than 3000 meters of elevation.

Georg Zimmermann :
"I am particularly motivated for these championships on Sunday, because the course features many climbs and suits me therefore very well. The motivation is even greater because I finished fourth in 2020, fifth in 2019. Now, my target is the podium in Stuttgart."

Starting : Jonas Koch, Georg Zimmermann


France - T. Delacroix : "Eager to play an active role"

Another difficult course, that of the French championships crosses the Vosges around Épinal. The 242 kilometers have a staggering altimetry: 4200 meters of elevation. Alongside the best French riders, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux will be represented by its two youngsters, Jérémy Bellicaud and Théo Delacroix, who have just completed the first World Tour stage race of their career with the Critérium du Dauphiné. Delacroix, French champion U23 in 2019, will want to play an offensive role like his teammates in other countries. 

Théo Delacroix :
"The championships are races that suit me quite well, and I know how awesome it is to wear the jersey on the podium. This year the course is very demanding, but the preparation has been very good. First with the Dauphiné, then in Paris-Camembert. I had good feelings and I worked well for the team. We will be two IWG representatives this year. We will not kid ourselves, competing with the best teams will be difficult. However, I am keen to be an actor in this championship, and I want to be opportunistic since we will not be marked by the teams that usually control the race."

Starting : Jérémy Bellicaud, Théo Delacroix

Estonia - R. Taaramäe will ride with less pressure 

Crowned national time trial champion on Thursday, Rein Taaramäe will also line up for the road race. Already winner in 2009 and 2013, the man who offered the first national title in the history of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux is aware that the course and the eyes set on him may not be the most favorable factors, but the 34-year-old rider still shows the same determination to clinch a new title on Sunday.  

Rein Taaramäe :
"It will be difficult for me because the course is rather flat and explosive, like everywhere in Estonia. There will be a gravel sector with slopes up to 5% as a point of attention, but above all, we will ride alongside the championship contenders from Latvia and Lithuania. I know that I will be watched closely but you never know, with the legs of the Giro and an ally, it can work. I put a lot of pressure on myself to win the time trial, which is now successfully done. I will ride with a freer mind and we'll see where it can take me."

Starting : Rein Taaramäe