The Italian two-week period goes on in Lombardy this Monday, with the Grande Trittico Lombardo. The new Italian event on the UCI Pro Series calendar compresses the Tre Valle Varesine, the Coppa Agostini and the Coppa Bernocchi, all cancelled because of Covid-19, in one race. The first 100 rather flat kilometers after the start in Legano are followed by an difficult final circuit around Varese. The Lombardian city, which hosted the world championships more than once, will meet the winner of the Grande Trittico Lombardo around 17h, after 199.7 kilometers of racing.
For the Italian event, Circus-Wanty Gobert-Tormans counts on a majority of the Strade Bianche squad. Loïc Vliegen, Xandro Meurisse, Quinten Hermans, Pieter Vanspeybrouck and Corné Van Kessel will be reinforced by Jan Bakelants and Jasper De Plus, under the direction of Hilaire Van der Schueren and Steven De Neef.
Xandro Meurisse :
« At the Strade Bianche I suffered from a heatstroke. My legs felt good, and I ate and hydrated well, but all of a sudden I suffered from the heat and in only a couple of kilometers my race was over. It's a pity, because I prepared this race well and expected a lot better. But with this heat you can't judge your level related to your competitors, because you pay each effort cash. »
« It will be less hot on Monday. It will be better, because I don't like to ride in an oven like last Saturday. The final of the course of the Grande Trittico Lombardo can suit me, as it is quite selective. I want to make up for Saturday and be fresh at the start. We have a nice group, reinforced by Jan Bakelants. Thanks to his experience he can guide us well, and we'll play the team card in the final. »
Jan Bakelants :
« I got through the lockdown well, by spending time with my family and while training to be ready for a restart of the competition at any moment. I'm ready and I'm eager to pin a number on again, even tough I haven't had the possibility to compare my level to others. We'll have to manage the heat well, however, te circumstances will be less extreme than last Saturday during the Strade Bianche. I know the course well, as I participated at the U23 world championships in Varese in 2008. The course is interesting, with it's uphill finish of 1 kilometer with a 7% gradient, followed by a 4 kilometer climb that we'll have to cover four times. »
« This final can create an exciting race, with different riders capable of playing their cards. We are here with a nice team capable of achieving a nice result. Personally, I hope to finish in the top 10. »