Van der Lijke and Wynants look ahead to European Games road race
Two riders will represent team LottoNL-Jumbo on Sunday in the road race of the European Games in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. Nick van der Lijke will be wearing Holland’s orange jersey, while Maarten Wynants will wear the Belgium colours.
“I’ve seen the course on YouTube,” Van der Lijk said. “The local lap is the same as in the last stage of the Tour of Azerbaijan, so that’s a good indicator. I expect an open race. Especially because of the climb, we have to wait and see how things will pan out.”
Van der Lijke is counting on good legs for Sunday. In May, he finished his first grand tour at the Giro d’Italia. “I ended the Giro in a good shape. After the race, I’ve been able to train properly as well. I look forward to the race with confidence.”
The young Dutchman can’t wait to represent the Netherlands at the European Games. “Yes, it’s great, especially since this is the first time the event is held. I’m very curious to see what the atmosphere is like.”
Maarten Wynants also reviewed the final stage of the Tour of Azerbaijan. “It’s a typical world championship lap. There is always a lot of discussion about the course in advance, but I have to experience it myself before I can say anything about it. Fortunately, we have two days to explore the lap in Baku.”
Wynants will ride for Belgian teammate Tom Boonen on Sunday. “It’s going to be a challenge, looking at the course, but I’m motivated,” Wynants said.
The Critérium du Dauphiné was Wynants final race before the European Games. “It was a hard race, so a pretty tough week.”
The road race of the European Games is 216 kilometres long, and the peloton will ride 16 laps over a 13.5-kilometre circuit through Baku.
Line-up The Netherlands:
Nick van der Lijke, Pim Ligthart, Niki Terpstra and Wouter Wippert.
Maarten Wynants, Tom Boonen, Tiesj Benoot, Jens Keukeleire, Gianni Meersman and Stijn Vandenbergh.