Mitchelton-SCOTT looking to end the classics season on a high at Tour of FlandersThu 15 Oct 2020
Mitchelton-SCOTT will tackle the fourth and final Monument classic of the season as they line-up for the famous Ronde van Vlaanderen in Belgium on Sunday.
The squad has a mixture of youth and experience in its ranks, with Kiwi Jack Bauer set to ride the eighth Tour of Flanders of his career. Former winner of the under-23 race Alex Edmondson and countryman Luke Durbridge will also add valuable knowledge to the team.
Dane Chris Juul-Jensen and Slovenian Luka Mezgec will both take on the Belgian classic for a fifth time, while neo-pros Alexander Konychev and Kaden Groves will get their first taste of De Ronde.
Jack Bauer (NZL, 35)
Luke Durbridge (AUS, 29)
Alex Edmondson (AUS, 26)
Kaden Groves (AUS, 21)
Chris Juul-Jensen (DEN, 31)
Alexander Konychev (ITA, 22)
Luka Mezgec (SLO, 32)
The 243.3km route begins in Antwerpen and winds through the Belgian countryside, taking in no less than 17 bergs and 14 cobbled sectors along the way. The day begins with a largely flat section of road before two cobbled sectors in quick successions with 85km completed.
The first berg is dealt with after 100km racing before the peloton tackle the Oude Kwaremont for the first time. Six climbs are up next, including the Berendries and Valkenberg, before the bunch race over the Oude Kwaremont for the second time.
The Paterberg and the cobbled Koppenberg quickly follow, with the third and final passage over the Oude Kwaremont coming with around 20km remaining. The short but steep Paterberg is the climb again before a flat run to the finish line in Oudenaarde.
The Tour of Flanders is the only Monument to have eluded Mitchelton-SCOTT. Since 2012, the team has won five out of the six Monuments, with the ‘Ronde’ the only one still missing.
The team’s best result remains a 10th place finish for former rider Sebastian Langeveld back in 2013, while Durbridge’s best showing is 12th in 2017.
"It’s going to be the last race for a lot of people this year, but I don’t think the Tour of Flanders needs any extra hype, it’s one of the biggest races of the year. It’s a Monument and it’s one of my favourites and obviously it’s Belgium’s biggest race of the year as well.
"So, I don’t think it needs anymore build-up around it, I think everyone will be going in there with nothing to lose and one of the biggest prizes in cycling is to win.
"We have a strong team; we have some guys coming out of the Tour de France with some good form. It’s one of my favourite races, so personally, I’m always highly motivated to have a good ride there.
"As a team I think we have some guys who have done Flanders a fair few times now and it’s a good mix with some young guys. I think any race we can get at the moment we’ll take with both hands, so I’m looking forward to it. I hope as a team we can pull off a good result come Sunday."
Laurenzo Lapage (Sports Director):
"We start the race without a clear leader, so that gives an opportunity for everyone in the team to take their chance. We will look to race aggressively, we have Mezgec and Durbo who will be given some protection, but they’re not clear leaders. So, anyone who is in a good position will be protected and get a chance.
"With Flanders, it doesn’t matter if it’s the last race of the season, the first one, or in the middle, everyone is really motivated to do this race. Flanders creates its own pressure, guys get excited for this race, it’s a Monument and everyone is talking about it all year round.
"Obviously the fans won’t be at the side of the road like usual, but the guys are used to it now, they’ve ridden in these circumstances a few times in the last few weeks. I think the weather, you can compare it more or less to a good day in the early season, so I don’t think that will be a big difference."
Ronde van Vlaanderen 2020 - Race Details:
Sunday, 18th October: Antwerpen - Oudenaarde, 243.3km
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.