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HIGH ROAD AIMING TO DEFEND PROTOUR LEAD IN FLANDERS
This Sunday sees High Road’s Men and Women’s Teams taking part in their respective versions of the Tour of Flanders.
For the men’s team, as team manager Rolf Aldag says one key aim will be to defend Andrei Greipel’s ProTour lead.
“He hadn’t planned to do Flanders, but once he’d got the ProTour lead we changed his race program. He’s going quite well, with a third place in the Nokere Koerse [on March 19] but punctured in Harelbeke at exactly the wrong time!”
Aldag is sure American George Hincapie, third in the Tour of Flanders back in 2006 and fourth in 2002, will be a key player on Sunday.
“George has been trying to take Flanders for 15 years, but actually there’s a reason for him not getting the win before – he was saving everything for when he signed for High Road.” Aldag joked.
Flanking Hiincapie will be Briton Roger Hammond. “He’s done good races and hopefully will be in the breaks from 150 kilometres onwards.” Aldag said.
Andreas Klier will “be our team captain, since he knows every corner of Flanders.” As for Bernhard Eisel, “he was really good in Harelbeke, although I rate his chances more for Roubaix.”
Spaniard Vicente Reynes has had an up-and-down start to the season, and is expected to go with the early breaks. Finally Marcel Sieberg is down to go but Aldag says “we’ll have to see if he can because he’s had two bad crashes and has an injured knee.”
High Road’s Women’s team will also be racing in Flanders in the third round of the women’s World Cup.
“Experience is crucial in Flanders.” argues team manager Petra Rossner. “and knowing the course. That’s why we’ve already checked it out again in the build-up to the race, because there are always small but important changes.”
The team will have “more than just one leader for sure. We’re very flexible in this team, it depends on who’s going well for each race and we take it from there. But we’ll be ready.”
According to High Road rider Oenone Wood – taking part in the Belgian race this year – Flanders could be more intense than usual in 2008.
“Judging from the last few weeks of racing, Flanders this year is going to even harder than the last.” Wood predicted.
High Road Men’s Team for Flanders: Bernhard Eisel (Aut), AndreGreipel (Ger), Bert Grabsch (Ger), George Hincapie (USA), Roger Hammond (GB), Andreas Klier (Ger), Vicente Reynes (Spa), Marcel Sieberg (Ger).
High Road’s Women’s team for Flanders: Judith Arndt (Ger), Kate Bates (Aus), Chantal Beltman (Hol), Luise Keller (Ger), Linda VIllumsen (Den), Oenone Wood (Aus.).
For more information on Team High Road please go to www.highroadsports.com