Team Omega Pharma-Lotto may select Briton Adam Blythe to race the Tour of Flanders on Sunday (April 3) in Belgium.
“He said he’d come, no problem, but prefers Ghent-Wevelgem and Paris-Roubaix,” team sports director, Herman Frison explained. “He will race Paris-Roubaix, but we are in a situation where we may need him for Flanders, we only have 10 riders for eight places.”
The team, for example, saw Frenchman David Boucher crash yesterday in the Three Days of De Panne.
Blythe made his debut in Flanders and Roubaix last year at just 20 years old. Following an impressive ride in De Panne, he was asked to ride by Belgian team-mate Philippe Gilbert.
This year, he raced the Dwars door Vlaanderen and Ghent-Wevelgem. He asked to skip De Panne and Flanders in favour of Roubaix.
“We think he is a rider for the cobbled races and with small climbs, but he told us that for him there is a little bit of a problem, which is different as the Belgian riders always want to ride it. They are used to the narrow roads, which is a little bit of a problem for Adam,” added Frison.
“He is okay for 10K ahead of a cobbled sector or climb, but then riders swamp him on both sides one K before the narrow, cobbled sections. When you are there, in the middle, then you have problem. I think after two or three years, he will remember where he needs to be and handle it fine.”
Frison is impressed with Blythe’s power and said the Brit from Sheffield has a lot of potential. He compared him to Belgian Sébastien Rosseler, who used to lead-out Tom Boonen at Quick Step.
“At Quick Step, it was him, Steegmans and Boonen. Here it is a little bit the same to help [André] Greipel. Adam is very strong on the flat and for that work 2K before the finish.”
Greipel won yesterday’s stage of De Panne and currently leads the race. It ends tomorrow with two stages, a morning road stage and an afternoon time trial.
Omega Pharma will select its Flanders team, built around Gilbert, tomorrow afternoon. The team will lead with Greipel and Jürgen Roelandts in Roubaix.