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Team Emirates to use Flanders to prep youth

Older riders will lead by example in Belgium ahead of future tests

Gulf News

Dubai: UAE Team Emirates intends to use its first race of the season in northern Europe as an opportunity for more experienced riders to lead their younger teammates on Wednesday, ahead of the E3 Harelbeke and the Tour of Flanders races on March 24 and April 1 respectively.

Speaking ahead of the Dwars Door Vlaanderen, Sporting Director Mario Scirea said: “The more experienced cyclists will be fundamental in leading the young guns. Our trio of sprinters Consonni, Guardini and Modolo have an opportunity for a good result on the day.”

The Dwars Door Vlaanderen, which translates as ‘Across Flanders’, has been promoted to the UCI World Tour calendar this year and is a semi-classic race in Belgium which first began in 1945.

The first 100-km of the race in West Flanders is mainly flat on asphalt. However, the second half of the race has several climbs that are likely to determine the day’s winner, the biggest being the Paterberg, a steep 600-km section of cobblestones, also known as pavé. This section is often decisive reaching a 20 per cent incline, only 30-km from the finish line.

With the elements to contend with alongside the pavé, 22-year-old UAE Team Emirates sprinter Simone Consonni is looking forward to experiencing the unique race for the first time.

“This will be my first appearance on the Northern roads,” he said. “I’m excited and conscious that it will be a challenge which deserves respect.”

Riding alongside Consonni is a UAE Team Emirates line-up made up of Andrea Guardini, Marko Kump, Vegard Laengen, Marco Marcato, Sacha Modolo, Oliviero Troia and Frederico Zurlo.

UAE Team Emirates is racing at the Volta a Catalunya this week until Sunday, March 26 as well as the E3 HarelBeke on March 24 and the Gent-Wevelgem on March 26.