Tony Martin and Marcel Kittel lead Etixx-QuickStep at Driedaagse De Panne
After more disappointing Classics displays last week, and with the biggest two races of the Spring coming up this weekend and next, Etixx-QuickStep turn their attentions to the Driedaagse De Panne this week, where Tony Martin and Marcel Kittel will lead the team.
Martin, who will be a key part of the team’s plans for Paris-Roubaix a week on Sunday, will be among the strong favourites in the 14-kilometre individual time trial that concludes the four-stage race. Depending on how he fares on the hilly opening stage on Tuesday, the German may go into that time trial battling for overall honours.
As for Marcel Kittel, he will have marked out Wednesday’s stage 2, likely culminate in a bunch sprint, as a big opportunity to take his sixth victory of the season. He will link up with Maximiliano Richeze, the lead-out man signed from Lampre-Merida shortly after Kittel’s move, for the first time this season and will also be flanked in the closing stages by Fabio Sabatini.
The team can also count on 2014 winner Guillaume Van Keirsbuick, Iljo Keisse, Davide Martinelli, and Lukas Wisniowski.
“We have a competitive team for De Panne,” said directeur sportif Rik van Slycke. “The first stage will be really hard, with 11 hills on the course, including a double ascent of the Muur van Geraardsbergen and another climb right before the finish line. Considering this, and the bad weather which has been forecasted, it’s very likely we will have a selective group at the finish.
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