Directeur sportif Rik Verbrugghe explains his team Bahrain-Merida not too much pressure on two days for the Tour of Flanders. “Sonny Colbrelli was firmly sick and Vincenzo Nibali has no experience,” he said at a press conference of his team in Kortrijk. “But Vincenzo is a great champion and might be able to surprise.”
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Three riders took place at the table of the press conference: Heinrich Haussler, Sonny Colbrelli and Vincenzo Nibali. “In normal circumstances, it was Sonny here the leader,” said the leader. “Last year he was tenth, and he is dreaming of this course. But Sonny was firmly ill and then you should you ambition to adjust. You can’t Sonny to be the leader any questions if you are so sick. We have let him his course to drive. He had a good condition, that may not completely gone. Much will become clear in the course itself. Either he gets during the course of the feeling: “it goes, I go for it’, or sets, he quickly decided: I go in the service of Vincenzo drive.”
“In Milan-Sanremo was Vincenzo Nibali also not between the favorites placed,” says Verbrugghe. “And he wins. This of course is a different course, on different roads. He is not the big favourite, he comes here mainly in function of the kasseirit in the Tour de France and second to gain experience with an eye to the future. He then, perhaps as a favorite to start, and with ambition, but now is different. He is really excited to be here to quotes, but the missing him to experience. That you can’t deny that. We have the last 70 km to be explored and that will not make him more surprise, but all this is new to him. That is a difficult case, he will have to be vigilant and should try to be out of troubles. It is up to us to give him good information to pass through the earphones. It is also well surrounded by his team mates, and let him guide you through the Round.”
According to Verbrugghe will Quick-Step Floors, the price may be in the hands. “We need a little bit of advantage, our price on them tune in and read what they are going to do. Vincenzo is not a favorite, no, but I do not think that he is worthy of a Yves Lampaert or that type of riders as he is in the finale with those guys. Only he must in the final get and that is the biggest challenge in his first Tour of Flanders.”
Nibali: “I take part to gain experience”
Nibali Sunday at the age of 33 his debut in the ronde. He has performed as a soloist two weeks ago to victory in Milan-Sanremo. This is the Sicilian now two Monuments on his palmares. Earlier he also won the Tour of Lombardy in 2017 and 2015, but he considers the small chance that he will be the Tour of Flanders wins.
“I know the route is not”, he said at a press conference in the park Hotel in Kortrijk. “In the first place, I take part to gain experience on the cobbles. I rate here a function of the kasseirit in the Tour de France and I also wanted at least one time in my career the Circular drive. As I also do not exclude that I ever participate in Paris-Roubaix.”
Previously also did other Ronderenners such as Romain Bardet, Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana the to him for the past few days in the Flemish classics. “But I wanted to be in the Round, a Monument. I have a lot of respect for this game, this is a classic. I wanted to be here even rates, in Flanders, where the wielerbeleving is so great. I don’t know what is waiting for me, know the roads and cherish, therefore, should not be a major ambition.”
Nibali explored Friday with his team for the last 70 miles of the trail. When he was asked what slope he’s the best or hardest found, he had the north lost. “Honestly, I don’t know as well where I’ve driven”, he smiled, the teeth exposed. “There is not a single slope or very difficult to so, it’s just the rapid succession of climbs and cobblestones that the price heavily. You should also be constantly focused races, because it goes from wide to narrow roads. The feeling on the cobblestones today was certainly good, but that is during a workout. Sunday in a contest that will be different, you can training not price compare, but that feeling gives me already trust. I have the good condition to tackle it, I am surrounded by a strong team that me the ropes will have to make. Or I here ambition? Of course I want to perform well, but I want to be in the first place, now would primarily gain experience.”
Calls himself not a favorite. “I think more of Philippe Gilbert, Peter Sagan and Sep Vanmarcke”, he concluded.
Sunday night travelling Nibali already through to the Round of the Basque country that the day after it’s start.
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Colbrelli: “I am now also not yet super”
Sonny Colbrelli last year, the tenth in his debut in the Tour of Flanders and had at the start of the season great expectations about the Flemish spring. The Italian was ninth in Milan-Sanremo, but has troubles for a while with bronchitis, and knew, therefore, not rash to drive in the E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem. “I don’t know where I was on Sunday can expect,” he said at a press conference of his team.
Last year, Colbrelli firmly his nose on the window in the spring. he won a stage in Paris-Nice and showed close results recorded in the E3 Harelbeke (seventh), Ghent-Wevelgem (thirteenth) and the Round (tenth). Furthermore, he won the Brabantse pijl and he was ninth in the Amstel Gold Race. Now struggling he, however, with illness and he returned to Italy after Gent-Wevelgem to recover.
“I had advance a lot of ambition in both the E3 Harelbeke, like in Ghent-Wevelgem,” said the Italian. “But by disease were those rates to be a flop (49th and 124ste). I felt really sick, and now I am also not super. I am restored, but I don’t know what Sunday should expect. It comes to the Tour of Flanders, a race of 260 kilometres where you really need peak fitness to tackle. Much will become clear in the course itself and I hope that I will be in the Round back the good legs and then continue on to build.”