Roster: Jack Burke, Colin Heiderscheid, Alexander Krieger, Pit Leyder, Jan Maas, Gaëtan Pons, Mario Spengler - DS: Markus Zingen
The contrast could not have been any bigger. From the mountains of the Tour of Antalya, Leopard Pro Cycling now comes to Belgian to race on typical Belgian roads at Le Samyn. A demanding cobblestone classic in what is to be expected tough race conditions.
It's therefore not a surprise that the palmares of the race features some big names such as Philippe Gilbert and Arnaud Démare. Last year, Niki Terpstra took Le Samyn for the second time after a great solo ride. Also this year, competition will be tough. Next to the Leopard riders, also the teams of Quick Step, Lotto Soudal and AG2R are present, together with no less than 12 Pro Continental teams. By showing up with a strong selection, Leopard Pro Cycling knows that it's more than able to mix in.
The start takes place at the Grand Place of Quaregnon, before the race will head over 198,4 kilometers to Dour, a small town which is only situated 10 kilometers away from the start. The race can be divided into two parts. The initial phase takes the riders over four climbs - the Côte de Mainvault, Côte de la Folie, Côte des Papins and Côte du Séménil - before arriving in Dour for the four local laps. This final part is marked by some nasty cobblestone sections, mostly uphill. Per lap, almost five kilometers of cobbles needs to be covered, thus a total of 20 kilometers for the entire race. It goes without saying that only the strongest riders will be able to battle for the victory when approaching the finish line in the Rue Moranfay. One of Leopard's strongest riders is Mario Spengler, who is looking forward to start his season.
Mario Spengler: "The preparation for my 2019 season was pretty good. I went to Mallorca for a few weeks and there I created a good base with many kilometers. I want to grow race by race now and further improve on the high intensity work. I feel ready for Le Samyn and I am confident that we can prove ourselves amongst the World Tour and Pro Continental Tour riders. We have to be very attentive, since the race can be decided at any moment. My brother already did this race before, so I heard a lot about it. Now I can't wait to see and experience it myself. Normally I am always good in the first races of the season, so Tuesday I want to do a good race as well. It looks like we will see some rain during the race, so I expect a lot more from myself, since I handle these circumstances quite well. It's great to see that everybody in the team is motivated after the great results in Antalya."
Le Samyn (UCI 1.1)
05.03 - Quaregnon - Dour | 198,4 km