Van der Sande looks forward to special European season opener Team Jumbo-Visma
The European road season is about to start for Team Jumbo-Visma. From 1-5 February, the team will compete in the Tour of Valencia, traditionally one of the first multi-day European races of the season.
Tosh Van der Sande will start his second season in the yellow and black jersey next Wednesday in Spain. The 32-year-old Belgian says he is more than ready. "I am in good shape. I was able to train well this winter. I am on the right track, and fortunately, I have not had any bad luck along the way."
The Tour of Valencia is not just Van der Sande's first race. It is a special race for the Belgian, not just because Team Jumbo-Visma has been successful there on many occasions. "In the first stage, we will pass my house. This is an extraordinary feeling. Over the next few days, we will mostly ride on the roads where I usually train. That makes it special. You could say I can ride the route blindfolded", the affable Van der Sande says with a smile.
"You could say I can ride the route blindfolded"
Team Jumbo-Visma will compete in its first European race of the year with a well-balanced team. "With Olav, we want to win a stage on the first day. It will not be easy as the course is rarely easy. I expect that only some sprinters will be able to fight for the win on the first day. It will be up to the team to put Olav in a good position in the final kilometres", Van der Sande says.
The peloton will be put to the test on day two. The finish will be uphill. And stages three and four are hardly flat either. The final day will be flat, but the riders will have to contend with a 12-kilometre climb midway through the stage. However, Van der Sande believes his sprinter has a chance. "Olav showed last year that he can survive a climb. He also made a strong impression at the recent training camp. He feels good and says he is ready for the start of the season. We are confident of some good results."
Another young teammate also caught Van der Sande's eye during the training camp. "Thomas Gloag showed great potential during the autumn races in Italy. He continued in that vein at the camp. He could easily be our surprise in Valencia", Van der Sande says.
In Valencia, Team Jumbo-Visma comprises Van der Sande, Kooij, Gloag, Koen Bouwman, Sam Oomen, Michel Hessmann and Lars Boven.