#PinkArgyle targets sprint stages in European season opener

    Two new sprint signings headline EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale’s seven-man roster for the 69th edition of Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.
    “I think Valencia is a really good opportunity for us to start playing a little bit with our new sprint capabilities in Dan McLay and Sacha Modolo,” said EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “That’s what I’m looking for this week more so than a general classification performance.”
    The five-day race runs from Wednesday January 31 – Sunday February 4. The race opens and closes with projected sprint stages. Two climbing stages and a team time trial are sandwiched between the likely sprints.
    Pierre Rolland represents the only true climber amongst the #PinkArgyle’s seven-man squad, which largely consists of Classics riders – all of whom will race for the first time this season in Valencia.
    “For the climbing days, stage two and stage four, we can go into the breakaways,” said sport director Ken Vanmarcke. “We’ll see what’s possible. Maybe on the second stage the break has a real chance to stay in the front, and even if not, then somebody gets a really good training day.”
    While the Volta Valenciana squad has had plenty of good training days leading up to the race’s start on Wednesday, those training days have been filled with all sorts of non-training activity, too. EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale held its annual training camp in Girona in the build-up to the race. The days were filled with photo shoots, POC helmet fittings, Cannondale product information sessions, all sorts of team meetings and sponsor meet-and-greets.
    “For this team at this time, my expectations are somewhat tempered as they’re coming off a busy training camp,” said Vaughters.
    Vanmarcke’s expectations are slightly less measured: “With the two sprinters we have there, we have to go for a win. There are two sprint stages, and we tried everything on the Parcmotor Castelloí circuit last Thursday. We have to go full on the sprint days.”
    McLay eagerly anticipates the challenge.

    “Between me and Sacha, I expect we’ll find our way and have a good go in the sprints,” said the Briton. “There will be a little bit of learning, but there’s no point in hesitating. We’ll give it our best effort.”  
    And for stage three team time trial?
    “There will be a nice taste of blood in the throat on Friday, I reckon,” said McLay.

    EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale for 2018 Volta Valenciana:

    Ken Vanmarcke (BEL)

    Matti Breschel (DEN)
    Sebastian Langeveld (NLD)
    Dan McLay (GBR)
    Sacha Modolo (ITA)
    Pierre Rolland (FRA)
    Tom Van Asbroeck (BEL)
    Sep Vanmarcke (BEL)