Tony Gallopin about Paris-Nice: ”It’s one of the few stage races where I aim for a good GC”

From Sunday 6 March 2016 till Sunday 13 March 2016 Paris-Nice will take place, also called the ‘Race to the Sun’. It’s the 74th edition of this WorldTour stage race. Don’t look for the red Lotto Soudal shirts during this race. Just like in the Tour of Belgium last year, Lotto Soudal will have another name for one week. In France, the team will be called Lotto Fix ALL. The red outfit will be changed by blue-grey shades.

Lotto Fix ALL will participate with riders such as André Greipel, Tony Gallopin and Tim Wellens. Alberto Contador and Richie Porte will be the main competitors for the GC. The competition for the sprints will come from Marcel Kittel, Alexander Kristoff and Nacer Bouhanni. Tony Gallopin and sports director Herman Frison are looking forward to this race.

Tony Gallopin: “I felt good in the Etoile de Bessèges and in the Volta ao Algarve. I obtained a good overall result twice. It was a great start of the season, especially with regard to Paris-Nice. After Algarve I trained hard to be fully prepared for the ‘Race to the Sun’. I didn’t recon the stages because I already know the routes well. I train a lot in this region. The course of the first stage is very familiar to me, it’s close to my hometown. During the winter I often go to Nice to train, where the last stages will be held.”

“This race is very important to me, it’s one of the few stage races where I aim for a good GC. The course of Paris-Nice suits me well. I want to perform as well as I can during the final weekend. Last year I ended up sixth, I want to do better this time. I think a top five place is possible, even the podium is something I desire. But it won’t be easy, the competition is strong. I didn’t think a lot about last year’s final stage anymore, where I lost the leader’s jersey. I was disappointed of course, but I carried on quickly.”

“There’s no climbing time trial scheduled at the Col d’Eze this year, that’s an advantage for me. Saturday will be very tough with the uphill finish at La Madone d’Utelle. It’s in my favour that the climb isn’t very steep, but it’s situated at the end of a hard stage. It will be difficult to do something against riders as Contador but I think I can limit the time difference on such a climb. The final day will not determine the GC, the Col d’Eze is situated too far from the finish. The stages before the closing weekend are dangerous as well. You need to be attentive for splits in the peloton and echelons. It will be a nervous race.”

“I really look forward to Paris-Nice. It will be special for me and the teammates to ride in the Lotto Fix ALL outfit for a week. In my opinion, it’s a beautiful and original shirt. The glue is good, I’ve tested it myself.”

Herman Frison: “We have a positive feeling after the Belgian opening weekend, we saw a strong team. Of course, we want to be good in Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico too. These races are still part of the preparation on the Classics. Nonetheless it’s a WorldTour race, everyone will do his very best to obtain a good result.”

“Our first goal is to win a stage with André Greipel. We’ll have to wait how well he’s recovered from his rib fracture. André needed to rest for about two weeks so misses race rhythm. Also for Marcel Sieberg that’s the case, his lead-out. He had to rest a few weeks as well. They were both able to do some good trainings, but we’ll have to see how they’ll perform during the race. Adam Hansen and Thomas De Gendt are always motivated riders. They can be in a break  and they can attack at the right moment.”

“We have two leaders for the GC. Tony Gallopin and Tim Wellens already proved that they’re in good shape this season. Tony rides in his own country and in his own region so he’s very motivated. Last year he won a stage and he rode the closing time trial in the leader’s jersey. This is a race that suits him. Also Tim is really looking forward to this race after his good performance in the Ruta del Sol. We participate with a very decent and experienced team with riders that always give their all in every race.”

Line-up Lotto Fix ALL: Lars Bak, Thomas De Gendt, Tony Gallopin, André Greipel, Adam Hansen, Marcel Sieberg, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens.

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