Archive for the ‘Omega Pharma – Lotto | archives’ Category

Emergent young team for the Giro d’Italia

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

This Saturday the first 3-week stage race of the year gets underway. The Giro d’Italia. There are 39 mountains in total in the event; however the first stage is a 19 kilometer team time-trial. The riders must also complete 1 mountain time-trial on 24 May and a further individual time-trial on 29 May. The Omega Pharma-Lotto team will be sending an 8-strong team to the event.

Jan Bakelants | Belgium
He is in his 3rd year as a pro and this will be his 2nd Giro d’Italia. In 2010 after the Giro he made a short break but was again in action at the Tour of Spain. This year he has already finished in the top 5 at the Vuelta a Catalunya. As Philippe Gilbert’s helper at the Amstel Gold Race he still managed to finish in 34th place. Before he made it into the pro ranks he was even able to win the U-23 version of Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

Adam Blythe | Great Britain
At the age of just 21 he is the baby of the Omega Pharma-Lotto team at this year’s Giro d’Italia. In his first year as a pro he already exceeded his own expectations. He originally wanted to win one event, but gained two victories including overall victory in the Circuit Franco Belge. Adam therefore passed his baptism of fire!
In last year’s Giro d’Italia he had to retire from the race on stage 11. This year the chances are good that he’ll make it to Milan.

Bart De Clercq | Belgium
In his first year as a pro Bart De Clercq showed what he’s made of. He confirmed his good early season form with a good performance at Paris-Nice. There he also staked his claim for a place on the team at the Giro and is an important pillar of the team.

Gert Dockx | Belgium
He is one of Andre Greipel’s trusted helpers and came with him from the HTC-Columbia team to Omega Pharma-Lotto. This will be the 22 year-old Belgian’s first big stage race. It remains to be seen how he will cope with the exertions of such a demanding event.

Olivier Kaisen | Belgium
Olivier Kaisen has been part of the team for six years now. This experience will certainly pay off on long stage races. He has already taken part in six major stage races and finished all six. Four times in the Tour of Spain and twice in the Giro – this is already in his biography. This year he will be taking part in at least 1 major event with the Giro.

Sebastian Lang | Germany
At 31 he is one of the most experienced riders in the young group. He has already got several years as a pro under his belt and knows how a team can achieve its aims. He was one of the most reliable helpers for Jurgen Van den Broeck at the Tour de France in 2010. It was the former German time-trial champion’s job to keep his captain out of the wind. This year is his second appearance at the Giro and alongside his important job in the team he will also be giving us his views on events during the entire race in our blog.

Klaas Lodewyck | Belgium
During his first season with Omega Pharma-Lotto Klaas Lodewyck already achieved some excellent finishes and is now being rewarded for that success with his selection for the Giro d’Italia, the first big stage race of the season. Although the young Belgian doesn’t have any real experience in this type of event, he’ll still be able to rely on the help of his teammates and the team management.

Jussi Veikkanen | Finland
Jussi is one of the most popular finnish cyclists. Last year he won the national championship in Finland and has been pulling on his national champion’s jersey ever since. He knows all about stage races having started the Tour de France, the Tour of Spain and the Giro. Nobody can take those experiences away from him. This year at the Giro he will be pulling out all the stops to be a worthy representative of his country’s national colours.

On Saturday we shall see just how this young, international team is going to fare. Eurosport will be showing all the stages live and will also be providing lots of other information over the course of the 3 week event.

Defending his title: Gilbert wins Amstel Gold Race

Monday, April 18th, 2011

He’s the first rider to have won the Amstel Gold Race on two consecutive occasions for 31 years. Philippe Gilbert is also the only rider to date who has triumphed twice on the Cauberg because the Dutch Ardennes classic has only been finishing here since 2003. “This week is the most important in my season and I’ve been feeling good about everything since Wednesday. The team was very strong and this also made me strong and helped me to conserve precious energy. I only really had to put a shift in over the last 3 kilometres to bring back Andy Schleck”, said Phil after his victory. Phil continued saying, “Andy took off at the right moment but I still had Jelle Vanendert at my side and knew he would be able to keep Andy within reach. However, when the gap grew to 16 seconds, I started to get worried. I spoke to the riders from Rabobank, but they weren’t that interested in working together with us. Oh well, never mind, as the race favourite it was then my responsibility to step up the pace”.

After the finish, which Phil won convincingly, he came in for praise from teammates and team personnel alike. Team Manager of the Omega Pharma-Lotto team Marc Sergeant said about his protégé’s sprint, “I’m still a little lost for words. At one point I thought he had missed the boat but Philippe had the support of his team and was later able to break away superbly from the main field. I’ve never seen anything like it before. What he pulled out of his pocket was terrific”. Phil’s teammate Jelle Vanendert, who paved the way for Gilbert’s pursuit of Andy Schleck, was over the moon saying, “Our tactics really paid off today. Our team was alert and everybody did his job. That was important as we had a strong head wind. It was my task to work for Gilbert at the foot of the Cauberg and that worked out really well. Gilbert can hardly lose on a finish like that”. Björn Leukemans, one of Phil’s strongest opponents, took his hat off to Gilbert’s performance and said, “I’m happy for Gilbert. If one looks at how he took up the chase after Schleck, he was a worthy winner. If you are strong enough to ride away from everybody on the Cauberg, then that is really something! And because I’m a little patriotic I’m happy that a Belgian won the race”.


Looking ahead to the two upcoming Ardennes classics Gilbert is clearly focused on Liege-Bastogne-Liege this weekend. When asked Phil whether he believes he is the strongest rider in the peloton, the likeable Walloon answered, “I can achieve good results in Flanders, but also at Milan-San-Remo, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and in Lombardy. I’m not saying that I’m the best or second best. That will be judged at the end of my career. Now I’d just like to continue training and riding my races. If I continue to achieve good results, then I’ll be happy”. Looking forward to end of the spring classics season Gilbert adds, “It’s still a bit early to be thinking about Liege. Let us first enjoy this success. If this is the icing on the cake, then Liege would be the cherry on top”.

After De Brabantse Pijl Win, Gilbert Ready For Amstel & Ardennes Challenges

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Omega Pharma-Lotto’s Philippe Gilbert made an impressive solo counter-attack to bridge to the breakaway group in the De Brabantse Pijl then bested Björn Leukemans in a two-up sprint to take his fourth win of the season on his Canyon Aeroad CF.


“It’s been my goal since the start of the season to be in top form now,” said Gilbert after his win. “I didn’t start my season too bad and won some races along the way. Every week my form has gone up a notch and I’m approaching the level I’m supposed to be at, being 100% for Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

“Liège is a completely different race compared to De Brabantse Pijl, it’s much harder. I was happy to win De Brabantse Pijl as it gives me confidence for the upcoming week. Now I know that I’m good and that I can count on my team;I need them to support me. Now I know that they’ll be strong enough to assist me on Sunday in Amstel Gold and especially the following Sunday in Liège-Bastogne-Liège.”

Philippe Gilbert has admitted he has put “pressure” on his Omega Pharma-Lotto teammates for the upcoming Ardennes Classics and especially for Liège-Bastogne-Liège on April 24, his major target of spring 2011. Gilbert, defending champion at Amstel Gold Race will be a top contender at the races coming up on his home roads of Wallonia. “My goal was to be at my best at this time,” the Belgian told L’Equipe newspaper after his De Brabantse Pijl win.Gilbert needs his Omega Pharma-Lotto teammates to be at a certain level to support him at ‘La Doyenne’, Liège-Bastogne-Liège. “I hope my team will be strong enough,” Gilbert said. “I admit I’ve put a little pressure on them. Riders like Van Den Broeck and Bakelants have gone to prepare at altitude and we have remained in close contact so that I can follow their training. This victory is also to tell them that they didn’t do their work for nothing.”


The Omega Pharma-Lotto leader revealed that he was wary of possible attacks coming from teams that have several top men instead of just one designated leader. “I don’t need to be protected during the first 200 kilometres, but if I want to beat Katusha with Kolobnev, Ivanov and Rodriguez, I’ll need some help in the finale,” Gilbert said. “Last year in Liège, that put me into trouble. I found myself facing Contador and Vinokourov, for example. There could also be the two Schlecks and I’m worried about that situation a little.”

Hell of the North

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Dear sports fans,

We have now completed the Hell of the North and given everything. It was our aim to be in the breakaway of the day and give Jürgen Roelandts maximum support.


We also succeeded in achieving this on the whole. I managed to get myself into the breakaway together with David Boucher. Around 70 kilometers from the finish a group from behind made contact with us, in which Jürgen was also present. From then on we forced the pace and unfortunately I was eventually dropped by the other guys.


When then Cancellara and a few others came up from behind, I was able to keep up with them but shortly before the Carrefour de l’Arbre I had a puncture and so my chances of a good finishing position were over.
Jürgen Roelandts managed 14th place and I finished 21st. Perhaps I could have even done better, but it’s asking a lot to finish Paris-Roubaix with only 1 mechanical failure and without crashing, knowing how unpredictable this race really is.
Sieberg, Neyens and Reynes weren’t so lucky and they all went down although fortunately, none of them sustained serious injuries.
Now I’m going to take a short break before the Tour of Turkey gets underway (24.04. – 01.05.11).


See you soon,

Omega Pharma-Lotto Looking Forward to Paris-Roubaix

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Last year, 20 year old Adam Blythe was selected for the 2010 Tour of Flanders at the request of Omega Pharma-Lotto team leader Philippe Gilbert. That says a lot about the young Briton’s talent Blythe also rode Paris-Roubaix last year, a race he is looking forward to in 2011.

Coming off a top 20 finish in the Scheldeprijs Blythe has achieved his Paris-Roubaix goal again this season. “My personal target initially was to get selected for the classics. I knew it would be no easy thing this year. I’d love to be able to finish Roubaix this year. I know a lot of people might not see that as a big achievement but it would mean a huge amount to me.”

As for finding space with Omega Pharma-Lotto’s big German sprinter André Greipel, Blythe says “I don’t think his arrival will affect me all that much because our race programs look like they are going to be quite different. But if we are in the same races, I’m sure we will both be doing whatever we can to co-operate and win for the team, which is the key goal. Of course, Greipel’s already shown that he’s a great sprinter and I’m sure that I’m going to learn a huge amount just from being around him,” says Blythe.

Omega Pharma-Lotto for 2011 Paris-Roubaix:

– Adam Blythe (GBr)
– André Greipel (Ger)
– Adam Hansen (Aus)
– Sebastian Lang (Ger)
– Klaas Lodewyck (Bel)
– Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa)
– Jurgen Roelandts (Bel)
– Marcel Sieberg (Ger)

A strong Phil 9th of Tour of Flanders

Monday, April 4th, 2011

“Vlaanderens Mooiste”, Best of Flanders, was run today over 256 km. Starting at 9.45 from the Markt at Bruges, the hills were reached at Tiegemberg after 68 km through Western Flanders. 17 more ascents followed, including the threesome Oude Kwaremont, Paterberg and Koppenberg, and deep in the final, the traditional Muur van Geraardsbergen and Bosberg, the whole route peppered with 20 km of cobbles sections.

The Ronde is animated every year by an early breakaway. The initial speed, about 50 km/h, made it to wait for 60 km Roger Hammond, Jeremy Hunt, Stefan van Dijck, Mitchell Docker and Sébastien Turgot took off.

The peloton did not react before the gap reached 6′. Our riders took a great part to the chase,. Klaas Lodewyck and André Greipel countering with a small group.


Nothing changed much before Oude Kwaremont, Paterberg and Koppenberg, which played their usual role: the peloton thinned out, and the leaders were replaced by for other riders. Sylvain Chavanel attacked at Molenberg, while Phil had a flat just before the Haagboek cobbles section, where World champion Hushovd attacked, taking last year’s winner Cancellara with him. A Leberg, the Swiss rider dropped the others and soon rejoined Chavanel, the chase being organised by Phil and Jürgen Roelandts.


The surprise came after Muur van Geraardsbergen, where the chasers caught the leaders, Phil leading with a 5-wheel group. At Bosberg, our leader attacked alone, but he was chased and rejoined by a five-man group, six more following soon. It was thus a 12-wheel group which stormed towards Meerbeke.


In the final kilometres, Chavanel, Nuyens and Cancellara attacked again, and made a gap, Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank) outsprinting Sylvain Chavanel (Quick.Step) and Fabian Cancellara (Leopard – Trek). Philippe rode an excellent race, at Bosberg he even had a hand out to grab the bouquet, but he eventually finished in 9th position.

André Greipel: A strangely pleasant day

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Dear sports fans,

On Sunday things didn’t go so well for me. However today everything looks completely different. Stage 1 of the three-day Tour of De Panne-Koksijde was mega fast in the opening 1.5 hours with an average speed of 50 km/h.

An 8-strong leading group then came together. We had Jens Debusschere in that group and were able to bide our time in the main field. Then I had two punctures within two kilometres. Adam Hansen waited for me and helped me get back into the main field.

At around the 130km mark Gusev and Muravyev attacked on the Valkenberg climb. As I was relatively near the front of the bunch, I took my chance and went after them. Around 30 kilometres from the finish we three and Westra were able to get away from the rest of the group.

We worked really well together and succeeded in maintaining a minimal gap and so I managed to get my first win out of a breakaway group. All in all it was a crazy but mega exciting race.


I hope it continues like this… Tomorrow I’ll be in the race leader’s jersey at the start of the stage.

See you soon,

Gent-Wevelgem – on reflection disappointing

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Dear sports fans,

It was supposed to be a great day but instead turned out to be a really dramatic race. Mechanical defects, crashes and constant battles for position made the race very exciting indeed. Our team had to do a lot of chasing and we wanted to pull out all the stops to get the victory.


After the last steep climb, the Kemmelberg, a 50 strong group came together and ahead of this were the 4 breakaway riders of the day. Marcel Sieberg and Philippe Gilbert succeeded in bringing back the breakaway 4 after a chase that sapped a great deal of energy. Everything now pointed towards a bunch sprint finish. Sometimes things go well and sometimes they don’t and I unfortunately had a few problems during the sprint. I had to ease off the pedals 3 times and when I finally got my momentum going, the sprint was already over. So all I could manage in the end was 4th place. When you then roll past the others behind the finish line, you are overcome by disappointment.


Nevertheless, the team rode a great race for me and I would like to say thank you to them for that.

On Tuesday we start again with the De Panne stage race and on Sunday it’s the Tour of Flanders.

See you soon,

Gilbert Solid Third at Milan-San Remo on Canyon Aeroad CF

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Omega Pharma-Lotto star Philippe Gilbert was just a bike length away from victory after a hard fought 298km race from Milano to San Remo. said “Gilbert’s performance in Milan-San Remo showed the Belgian at his very best, aggressive, calculating and full of panache.

Phil tried desperately to escape the sprinters at Milan-San Remo but eventually paid for his aggressive riding in the finale. Gilbert had Omega Pharma-Lotto teammates Reynes, Roelandts and Greipel with him in the front group after the big crash on Le Manie split the peloton but their numerical advantage didn’t help when no other teams would help them control the attacks on the Cipressa and Poggio.

Philippe Gilbert attacked several times on the Poggio and again in San Remo but he was chased down each time. “I think I rode a good race. My form is good but I was a little bit unlucky and I was alone in the last 10 kilometres,” Gilbert told Belgian television post-race. “When the four riders got away on the via Aurelia coast road with 20km to race, everyone waited for Omega Pharma-Lotto to chase, and that cost us. Then I tried to get away with Nibali on the Poggio but it was a little bit late. On the descent I had to brake when Marcato crashed and I was closely marked in the finale.”


Gilbert was very critical of Italian Filippo Pozzato after Pozzato chased him after the Poggio. “At 2.5km from the finish I made a good move but my good friend Pozzato brought me back. Why?” Gilbert asked. “I still tried in the sprint after that but when I saw that Goss was with us, I knew it would be nearly impossible. Goss was too strong and had played the game perfectly.”

After Italian wins in Strade Bianche, a superb stage victory in Tirreno-Adriatico and a podium place in Milan-San Remo, Gilbert has concluded his “March” through Italy well and will now focus on winning the Ronde van Vlaandren April 3rd.

With proven tactics again victorious – Philippe Gilbert

Monday, March 14th, 2011

One of the most important stages in this year’s Tirreno-Adriatico ended, after 244km of fighting with a centimeter victory for Omega Pharma – Lotto captain, Philippe Gilbert. Having taken his third win in this year Gilbert was visibly pleased after the race: “In the past, I would have done exactly what Poels did. But I knew that there were two turns in the final kilometre. I had to wait, stay out of the wind, and make a final effort at the right moment.”
On the final meters Gilbert sent off Wout Poels, Damiano Cunego and Danilo Di Luca.

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Gilbert’s readiness for this year’s Milan-San Remo on the 19th of March could not be better. His great form is heavily backed with psychological power of his recent victories. For the designated classics expert this race, which he had already finished third in 2008, is one of the highlights of the season.

With a strong team behind him and again the right tactics to the traditional, almost 300 kilometer stage anything is possible – “And a bit of luck, too.” – Philippe Gilbert must admit.