Team Visma | Lease a Bike aims for sprint success with Kooij at the UAE Tour

Team Visma | Lease a Bike aims for sprint success with Kooij at the UAE Tour

Olav Kooij heads into the UAE Tour with confidence, good form and a strong team. The sprint leader from Team Visma | Lease a Bike took his first win of the season at the Spanish one-day race Clásica de Almería on Wednesday and will be looking to repeat his success in the Middle East.

Kooij feels he has the backing of a solid team to help him win more flat stages on the straight, wide roads of the United Arab Emirates. “The goal is to win a stage because there is a perfect chance that several stages will end in a sprint”, Kooij said.

Sports director Maarten Wynants agreed and saw four sprint opportunities for his rider. "We've built this team around Olav. The previous editions have shown that it is not easy to win with such a strong field in terms of sprinters. It is like a sprinters' World Cup. We will be happy with a stage win. In any case, Olav will be confident going into the race with his first win under his belt.”

"Winning in Almería gave me a lot of extra confidence"

Olav Kooij

The 22-year-old Kooij also noted that the UAE Tour always features strong sprinters. "It doesn't make it easier to win, but winning in Almería gave me a lot of extra confidence”, Kooij said. "It is an excellent and good start to the season, and it gives me a boost for the upcoming races. It gives me a lot of confidence and motivation.”

Chances in mountain stages

In addition to the sprint opportunities, Team Visma | Lease a Bike riders Bart Lemmen and Attila Valter will have chances in the mountain stages to the famous climbs of Jabel Jais and Jebel Hafeet. "They can prove themselves there”, Kooij said. "And apart from that, they can also achieve a nice place in the general classification."

Wynants is excited to see what Lemmen and Valter can do on the long climbs and in the 12-kilometre individual time trial. "Bart surprised us with his results at the Tour Down Under, and we will see what he can do on the longer climbs. The time trial should also suit him well. Attila can also be successful in the mountain stages. He doesn't get the chance to ride for himself very often, so I think he'll be happy to take this opportunity. He is ambitious enough and has prepared well.”

Team Visma | Lease a Bike selection: Olav Kooij, Attila Valter, Bart Lemmen, Mick van Dijke, Tim van Dijke, Loe van Belle and Tosh Van der Sande

Sports director: Maarten Wynants & Addy Engels


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