News

Vanmarcke all-in for classics in contract year

Cobbles veteran hoping to stay loyal to EF Pro Cycling through contract year and financial difficulties.

Sep Vanmarcke will be fully focused when the northern classics come around this October.

The 31-year-old Belgian will have missed this year’s Tour de France and have a contract to earn in his favored cobbled races, and so the motivation will be high. “My only big goal this fall is the classics,” Vanmarcke told Het Laatste Nieuws Friday.

Having ridden with his current EF Pro Cycling team since 2017, Vanmarcke is out of contract at the end of this season – though he’s not letting it fluster him.

“I might have been concerned five years ago, but I accept the situation now,” he said. “The conditions are not nice, but I can’t change it. I’m just trying to make the best of it. ”

Though EF Pro Cycling has not yet confirmed its full rosters for this year’s races, Het Laatste Nieuws reported that Vanmarcke will not be lining up for this year’s Tour de France, August 29.

Though the Flandrien rider was regretful he will not get an opportunity to race his sixth Tour this year, it will give him breathing room to be fully prepared for his perennial goals of Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. Vanmarcke has a long history with both races, having taken second place and finished fourth three times at Paris-Roubaix, and twice taken third place at Tour of Flanders.

“If I had been able to decide for myself, I might have made some other choices, but I am happy to adapt,” Vanmarcke said of missing the Tour. “I am especially happy that we can race again. It is also easy again: the team decides. I don’t have to think about what is best.”

EF Pro Cycling is one of many teams that has had to cut rider pay through the coronavirus racing stop, confirming in April that riders and staffers were facing wage reductions.

“I don’t feel frustrated, I just realize there is no other way,” Vanmarcke said of the hit to his pay packet.

“Principal sponsor EF organizes language travel and if there are two things that do not go through in this corona crisis, we are talking about traveling and studying,” he said. “So it makes sense that we are in the corner where the blows fall. I don’t want to be sour, but rather loyal and grateful for the past few years.”

With his future in doubt, Vanmarcke will be racing to earn a few more years with his team this fall.