Out of the nine editions of the Grand-prix OST-Manufaktur that took place in Bech, the Team Differdange riders have won no less than 6 times. It goes without saying that Gabriel Gatti's men will be favorites again on Sunday, March 18, 2018, for the 31st edition of the race. But first, they will have to be get rid of some individual riders and, most of all, of three other teams able to claim the victory in front of the Cultural Center of Bech.
The composition of the Team Differdange is not yet complete due to illnesses, injuries or overloaded agendas, but it should be strong enough to play the win. The riders in blue and white will be able to count on a reliable figure such as the former winner of the Tour of Hungary, Tom Thill, or on the young, but already experienced Jan Petelin and Tiago Da Silva, who know the course for having already competed on it several times. The former Hungarian champion Balasz Rozsa will also be able to play a role, as will the young Rick Stemper or Raphael Kockelmann. Other riders from Differdange are also likely to show up on Sunday, perhaps also ensuring a numerical superiority over the competitors.
Team Differdange at the front in 2017.
The other continental team in Luxemburg, Leopard Cycling Team, will try to do like in 2015 when they managed to hold off Differdange for the victory. It will be a Luxembourg majority within the team with Pit Leyder, the last winner of the JPEE contest to whom the course should be perfectly suited, the experienced Pit Schlechter or Luc Wirtgen, who showed very nice things in the Tour of Antalya, a few weeks ago, and also finished good 19th in the semi-classic Paris-Troyes since the start of the season. Britain's Charles Quarterman and Belgium's Jens Reynders, 22nd of the very demanding Grand Prix Lillers this year, will complete the Leopards' composition on this year's Grand Prix OST-Manufaktur.
The Prorace Cycling Team regularly makes an appearance in Bech and, this year, they will still be present with a complete and young team of 8 riders, led by Gert-Jan De Sy, who was 11th of the GP OST-Manufaktur in 2016 after an offensive race and winner of 2 races in Belgium last year. Jorden De Haes, 2nd of a stage of the very difficult Tour de Namur in 2017, the former Flemish Brabant champion Jordi Andries or Bram Ualgasi, 3rd in 2016 of the Grand Prix Bob Jungels for international juniors, will be the main contenders of this team composed entirely of Belgian riders.
Last year, the riders from Differdange struggled to get rid of German Simon Nuber, who was present at the front until the very end against the numerical superiority of the opponents. With 13 wins on German soil in 2017, Nuber is one of the most successful amateur riders in Germany and he will certainly be a favorite on Sunday in Bech. With Andreas Fliessgarten, former sprint jersey winner in the Flèche du Sud, Michael Gannopolski, former winner in Kayl and Fabian Genuit, 3 times winner last year in Germany, the rider from team Möbel Ehrmann will also have a strong squad to support him.
These four teams will undoubtedly be dominant next Sunday, but some riders could take advantage of the rivalries like for example the German Sascha Starker, 6th last year after an offensive race, Colin Heiderscheid, the winner of the Grand François FABER 2016 who now is member of the German continental team Dauner-D & DQ-Akkon, the double national elite without contract champion Tim Diederich, Danish fellow Jonas Andersen or the riders from Team Snooze with, for example, the Bulgarian Spas Gyurov who finished on the podium of the GP OST-Manufaktur in 2008 in Contern, a long time ago.
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