Leopard Pro Cycling's season is already well on it's way. This week, the calendar shows two races for the team. On Friday, one part of the team takes on the Youngster Coast Challenge, whereas a second part will race at the Tour de Normandie as of Monday.
Roster Youngster Coast Challenge: Colin Heiderscheid, Arthur Kluckers, Pit Leyder, Filip Maciejuk, Mario Spengler & Bas Van Belle - DS: Gregor Willwohl & Lennart Klein
The Youngster Coast Challenge - previous known as Handzame Classic - is a Belgium U23 race on a rather flat course. The race starts in Bredene from where it heads south to the Heuvelland region, where the only three climbs of the day are situated. Amongst those three ascents is the famous Kemmelberg, a 1,4 kilometers long cobbled climb with a maximum slope of 13%. Despite being close to the Belgian coast, there is not too much wind expected, although the bunch can split in the 'De Moeren' area with wide open fields. After also conquering eight cobblestone sections during the day, the race winner will be decided in the streets of Koksijde after 162 kilometers of racing.
Roster Tour de Normandie: Jack Burke, Alexander Krieger, Jan Maas, Gaëtan Pons, Szymon Rekita & Mario Spengler - DS: Gregor Willwohl
On Monday, another part of the Leopard outfit will start their Tour de Normandie campaign in Courseulles sur Mer. At first glance, the seven stages do not seem too hard, but the race is known for its unpredictable character. Some of Europe's top teams will be at the start line, so riders who want to fight for the victory should be attentive all week long, especially in the more difficult finals of stages two, three, five and six. In last year's edition, Alexander Krieger had top results throughout the seven stages and finished the race in an amazing second place.
Gregor Willwohl, Sports Director: "On Friday, we start at the Youngster Coast Challenge with our young guys. We want to test ourselves and see where we stand compared to the other teams. Therefore, we will race active and have Pit and Mario as leaders as our most experienced riders. We will see how the race will turn out, but it's up to the riders to take their chances. After this race, we go to the Tour de Normandie, where we will have six strong guys at the start line. With these guys we have so many options, so everybody gets their chance to perform. We take the race day by day as it's a very hard one to predict. You will see many strong teams taking part and we hope that we can race just like last year, when we were able to fight for the victory and bonus seconds every stage. However, we will not look too much to last year. This year we are even more experienced and stronger and with the good mood and morale we currently have, a lot is possible."
Youngster Coast Challenge (UCI 1.2U)
22.03 - Bredene - Koksijde | 162 km
Tour de Normandie (UCI 2.2)
25.03 - Courseulles sur Mer - Le Neubourg | 159 km
26.03 - Darnétal - Forges les Eaux | 169,5 km
27.03 - Bourg Achard - Elbeuf sur Seine | 147 km
28.03 - Tilly sur Seulles - Argentan | 173 km
29.03 - Alençon - Bagnoles de l'Orne Normandie | 172 km
30.03 - Gouville sur Mer - Martinvast | 159,5 km
31.03 - Saint Lô - Caen | 150 km