Atlanta, GA — The world’s first all diabetes professional cycling team, Team Novo Nordisk, is set to hit the Belgian cobbles next week at the one-day semi-classic Brabantse Pijl.
French puncheur Charles Planet finished in 32nd place in 2019 and will lead the team again. It’s a challenging parcours that suits the Vosges native’s characteristics, and after a solid block of recent racing, the objective is the top ten.
“It was a hard day at our last race, Paris-Camembert,” said Planet. “I just didn’t have the legs after a very short recovery from what was a tough Tour of Slovakia, but I have stayed focused all the way to Brabantse Pijl. It’s a beautiful race that suits me well, and I’m ready to give my all to close 2020 on a high note.”
The 2020 edition will mark the 60th anniversary of the race, and despite various changes to the start and finish towns over the years, the route still follows the traditional roads that traverse the Flemish Brabant region, including 29 short, sharp climbs in 200 kilometers of racing.
Quasi local, Brian Kamstra will make the short trip over the Netherlands’ border while climbers David Lozano and Peter Kusztor, powerhouses Sam Brand and Joonas Henttala, and versatile Italian sprinter Andrea Peron complete the roster.
“This unusual season is very short but a very quick one in terms of race pace. The race will be on from the beginning and position in the peloton will be important. Additionally, with the shift on the calendar, the weather could be a big factor at the end,” said Davidenko. “Even without racing for several months, Charles has made some great strides and grown significantly as an athlete this season. He showed a solid performance at every race and will be our leader in Belgium.”
As has been the case for all professional sporting events in 2020, the shifting to the competitive calendar created unforeseen side effects, such as diverse training, racing programs, and new objectives. With the Classics such as the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix moved later in October, the field will be a strong one at Brabantse Pijl.
“The top riders in the pro peloton will be present at the race and they will be testing their form before the big classics,” explained Davidenko. “Our strategy will be to race near the front, position our riders in the lead group at the end, and provide full support to Charles in the final kilometers of the race.”
Coming back from a block of stage racing and a challenging one-day race, Planet explained how he’s focused his training program heading into the semi-classic.
“Training was super important after the Covid-19 lockdown to prepare for the season restart,” said Planet. “But I have been racing a lot since then and so the focus became primarily about recovery between races.”
“The last few days I’ve done some hard, short efforts during training to make myself ready for this race profile. The sharp climbs suit me well and my style of racing, I’m really looking forward to lining up on Wednesday in Belgium!”
Team Novo Nordisk at Brabantse Pijl, Wednesday 7th October
Sam Brand (GBR, 29)
Joonas Henttala (FIN, 29)
Brian Kamstra (NED, 27)
Peter Kusztor (HUN, 35)
David Lozano (ESP, 31)
Andrea Peron (ITA, 31)
Charles Planet (FRA, 26)