'Proper bike racing - everyone loves it': Chris Lawless can't wait to take on the cobbles this weekend

Team Sky new recruit Chris Lawless will line up for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday for his first cobbled classic as a pro rider

Chris Lawless.
(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

Chris Lawless says that the opening weekend of the cobbled classics in Belgium this weekend is 'proper bike racing' and he is relishing the chance of tackling them for the first time as a professional rider.

Lawless signed up with Team Sky for 2018, having ridden for American outfit Axeon-Hagens Berman in 2017 and British squads Team Wiggins and JLT Condor before that.

The current British under-23 road race national champion will race in both Saturday's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Sunday's Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.

>>> Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2018: all you need to know

“It’s obviously my first pro cobbled race so it’s a bit nerve wracking as you don’t know what to expect, but it’s really exciting," said the 22-year-old.

“I got over here on Tuesday night and then did a recon on Wednesday with the guys. It was good to do that, to ride the cobbles again, get used to the narrow roads and just think about how it will be on race day."

Lawless made his debut with Team Sky at the Tour Down Under in Australia in January, and then rode in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race before returning to the colder climate of northern Europe.


“It’s just been about trying to get back into that zone after coming back from Australia, but I can’t wait for the racing to get started now,” Lawless commented.

This weekend's double-header of races in Belgium are what many race fans consider to be the 'proper' start of the race season, rather than the less-well-established events in Australia and the Middle East that now dominate January and February. Lawless seems to agree with the fans.

>>> Five things to look out for at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne

“I’ve been coming over here for a few years now. The first race I did in Belgium was when I was about 15. It’s proper bike racing - everyone loves it. The crowd gets really enthusiastic and the heritage of so many of the races over here is pretty amazing."

After this weekend, Lawless says he will put in another section of training before tackling more of the classics in northern Europe.

On Saturday, Lawless joins Sky team-mates Jon Dibben, Owain Doull, Michal Golas, Christian Knees, Dylan van Baarle and Lukasz Wisniowski at Het Nieuwsblad.

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Nigel Wynn
Former Associate Editor

Nigel Wynn worked as associate editor on CyclingWeekly.com, he worked almost single-handedly on the Cycling Weekly website in its early days. His passion for cycling, his writing and his creativity, as well as his hard work and dedication, were the original driving force behind the website’s success. Without him, CyclingWeekly.com would certainly not exist on the size and scale that it enjoys today. Nigel sadly passed away, following a brave battle with a cancer-related illness, in 2018. He was a highly valued colleague, and more importantly, an exceptional person to work with - his presence is sorely missed.