Intermarché - Wanty coach optimistic about Gerben Thijssen towards Tour: "He still needs to become more consistent in his positioning"

The Intermarché - Wanty Tour de France selection is all about stage victories. The team is built mostly around two sprinters Gerben Thijssen and Biniam Girmay. The Belgian didn't have an ideal build up towards summer due to an injury at the start of April, however his team is confident he'll be ready to form a powerful duo with his Eritrean teammate.

"He lost two weeks with his ankle fracture that he sustained at Scheldeprijs," head coach Aike Visbeek explains to WielerFlits. "Gerben is slowly getting better. It is true that he has trained hard in Spain in recent weeks. We used May for those training sessions and to gain racing rhythm. The consequence is that in, for example, the Volta Limburg he only rode at 90 to 85 percent. He is not yet at his best, but we will use the upcoming Baloise Belgium Tour for that. He still has to take steps forward there."

The result is that Thijssen has not yet made the connection he wanted with the world top in sprinting. "Physically he has certainly taken a step. In the Volta ao Algarve, Paris-Nice and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, Gerben has shown that he has become a much better rider physically. We did miss a few sprint opportunities in March. Think of Nokere and Classic Brugge-De Panne, that was not good. The conclusion is that he is physically where he should be, but he still needs to become more consistent in his positioning. That is his most important point of work."

Thijssen won't be able to rely on Boy van Poppel's help in sprints anymore. "But that was the intention anyway," Visbeek explains. "You see that Alpecin-Deceuninck also makes do with multiple lead-outs. Due to the injuries, we are also forced to make do with those different lead-outs, but that does not necessarily have to be a disadvantage. Our sprinters are also becoming more mature and can handle that. The sprint train for the Tour will be doing the Baloise Belgium Tour. Gerben can get used to Mike Teunissen, Laurenz Rex and Adrien Petit."

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