UAE Team Emirates will line-up at the 40th edition of Three Days of De Panne on Tuesday with Italian rider Sacha Modolo bidding to clinch his first victory of the season.
The 29-year-old, who won two stages of the race in 2014, will be hoping to improve his previous performances in De Panne before competing at the Tour of Flanders on Sunday, April 2.
“The Three Days of De Panne is quite a challenging and difficult race and achieving a good result in it is something everyone wants to do,” said Modolo.
“In 2014 I won two stages, one in Koksijde and one in De Panne: it would be great to be able to achieve either the same or an even better result… I would obviously love to clinch my first seasonal victory at such an important event ahead of Tour of Flanders.”
The Three Days of De Panne is an annual three-day race in Flanders, featuring elements of the spring classics such as cobbles, crosswinds and short, sharp climbs.
Riding alongside Sacha is a seven man UAE Team Emirates line-up, featuring Simone Consonni, Filippo Ganna, Andrea Guardini, Marko Kump, Vegard Laengen, Marco Marcato, and Federico Zurlo.
UAE Team Emirates will line-up this Sunday at the challenging Gent-Wevelgem with 2016 Paris-Roubaix champion Filippo Ganna looking to replicate another victory in northern Europe at the ‘sprinter’s Classic’.
Italian Filippo Ganna spoke ahead of the race: “I’ll be back in northern Europe after last year’s win at Paris-Roubaix. This is a tough course and I know there will be a lot to learn but I’m ready and excited for this new challenge.”
The 249.2 km day race is renowned for its strong crosswinds during the first 130km of flat fields, followed by numerous difficult ascents and technical descents.
The course has a total of 11 steep climbs, the final is the Kemmelber – a cobbled hill that reaches an incline of 23% at its steepest point. For the first time 5.2 km of the Gent-Wevelgem course will include three semi-paved, sloping country roads or tracks called ‘Plugstreets’.
At Gent-Wevelgem the wind, rain and low temperatures can be as brutal as the cobbles themselves. Sporting Director Mario Scirea commented: “Gent-Wevelgem is a very demanding race, especially if the weather conditions are bad. The wind affects the main group almost immediately and there is a huge push to get to the front positions at the start so riders can seize the crucial moments of the race.”
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Here’s our top five tips for riding a successful race!
What’s your goal for the race? Is it just about getting over that finish line or do you want to achieve a formidable race time? Once you have an answer then set out how you are going to succeed. It’s not too late now to be training 3-4 times a week but back yourself to know the preparation you have done thus far is going to help you get your best possible placing.
You’ve been following a training programme for the last number of weeks and now you’re at the closing stages of it. This coming 7-10 days is critical so listen to your body. If you’re sore then don’t train that day. The last thing you want to do is pick up an injury in the week leading up to the race. If you feel lethargic one evening then do some light circuits or a stretch to keep the body supple.
It is important to warm up before any cycle in order to prevent injury. If you’re going out for a spin this week, do some quick stretches (10 seconds each side), including hamstrings, quads, groins and calves. Post-cycle, you should do some static stretching and hold the stretches for at least 30 seconds to one minute, working all your lower body.
Your body is like a car so it needs the right fuel. Have some porridge (with a chopped banana) and a coffee/tea for breakfast, rice and chicken for lunch, and a piece of meat and sweet potato for dinner. You don’t have to eat these foods but they are ideas to help you feel mentally sharp in the week leading up to the race. Don’t feel that you have to be too strict but eliminate as much sugar as possible as this will only make you feel sluggish. On race day you will need some sugar and electrolytes during the race as the baking sun will make your body sweat easily.
RECOVERY IS KEY
Recovery is essential to athletic performance in order to help muscles rebuild. During your training for the 104km, it is important to take your recovery seriously as this will effectively impact how your body feels the following day(s). The three main tips for recovery are to hydrate, stretch and take in some protein after exercise (30-50g).
Enjoy it. You may never do one of these races again, especially in the UAE, so make the most of it and ensure you are as best prepared as you can be!