Motivated Team Visma | Lease a Bike at start of Tour of Flanders despite setback

Motivated Team Visma | Lease a Bike at start of Tour of Flanders despite setback

Next Sunday, the 'Holy Flemish Cycling Week' will reach its apotheosis with the Tour of Flanders. Team Visma | Lease a Bike did not have a perfect start, despite the victory in Dwars door Vlaanderen, but remains motivated to perform in one of the season's most important races. Tiesj Benoot, Matteo Jorgenson, sports director Grischa Niermann and sportive director Merijn Zeeman are looking ahead.

It is clear that Team Visma | Lease a Bike will miss Wout van Aert. But it is also a fact that the team will send a strong and motivated seven-man squad next Sunday. Despite the absence of Van Aert, who crashed in Dwars door Vlaanderen, the Dutch team is still hoping for an excellent result at the Tour of Flanders.

"Despite the setbacks, we are still at the start with a strong team", Benoot says. "We still have a chance to win on Sunday. We will do everything we can to achieve that. Mathieu van der Poel will be the absolute favourite in his current form. It's up to us to beat him. I will race with Wout on my mind next Sunday. I hope to make him proud. He has already told me he will be our biggest supporter. Hopefully, it will be a tough, gruelling race. That's in my favour. Matteo Jorgenson and Dylan van Baarle will probably like it too."

"I hope to make Wout proud"

Tiesj Benoot

Jorgenson, winner of Dwars door Vlaanderen: "Wednesday's result was great. At the same time, it left a bitter taste in our mouths. I hope next Sunday will be a hard race from start to finish. That suits me very well. I don't see myself as the favourite; that role belongs to Van der Poel. I think we still have the strongest team in the race. Hopefully, we can take advantage of that on Sunday. We showed on Wednesday after the setback that we are a strong unit", the American says.

The Nice native admits that his start to the season has gone beyond expectations. "I didn't dream that I would start my season like this. It's a privilege to ride in such a strong team. I don't know what my ceiling is yet. We will be well prepared for the start on Sunday. There is certainly no lack of motivation", an optimistic Jorgenson says.

"We have had more setbacks in recent years, but we have also shown that we can handle them well as a team", sportive director Merijn Zeeman says. "First of all, it is very bitter for Wout himself that he has to miss several races because of his crash. Unfortunately, there's nothing we can do about it, and we have to make a new plan with Sunday's race in mind. We don't start with a clear leader, but we have a very strong team. All our riders are very motivated to put in an excellent performance."

"We don't start with a clear leader, but we have a strong team"

Merijn Zeeman

Grischa Niermann agrees with his colleague: "It's true that our plan is changing now. But we always have a plan B because something can always happen that you cannot influence. We also have a battle plan for Sunday, which we will carry out with seven motivated riders. We are certainly not the favourites to win on Sunday. That role belongs to others."

Line-up Team Visma | Lease a Bike Tour of Flanders: Tiesj Benoot, Matteo Jorgenson, Dylan van Baarle, Mick van Dijke, Tim van Dijke, Edoardo Affini & Per Strand Hagenes.

Sports directors
: Arthur van Dongen, Grischa Niermann, Maarten Wynants & Merijn Zeeman.

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