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The core members of the French team’s classics squad hit key sectors on the Roubaix route Thursday to test new wheels and tires ahead of the upcoming classics season. They were welcomed by cool temperatures, rain, and muddy cobbles — perfect conditions for a testing session.
“It was raining, and it was nice to see how it feels,” said Van Avermaet. “It was nice to see the new tires and the new wheels on the cobbles. The test went quite well, and it was good to take some confidence on the wet roads, and good to feel how the wheels reacted under some pressure.”
Seeing the team’s distinctive jerseys out on the cobbles is further confirmation that the classics season is just around the corner. After an odd 2020 season, when many of the Belgian classics were contested in the fall, the popular one-day races return to their traditional dates on the calendar.
Officials are hopeful that the classics can be held this spring despite worsening health conditions across much of Europe. There is still some time before the major classics in April, but Omloop Het Nieuwsblad — where Van Avermaet will make his season debut in team colors — is slated for February 27. Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne rounds out the Belgian opening weekend the next day.
Van Avermaet was joined by Oliver Naesen and Gijs Van Hoecke. The trio rode 87km in total, riding over sectors Mons en Révèle, Pont Thibaut, Cysoing, Camphin, Carrefour de l’Arbre, Grusson and Hem, team officials confirmed,
“It was a good day. The riders trained today with some pretty hard weather conditions,” said sport director Julien Jurdie. “It’s always hard to work in these conditions, but the test went well and equipment responded well. This day will give us some important lessons ahead of the first classics.”