Marcel Kittel will headline the Quick-Step Floors team at two one-day races scheduled this weekend – the Brussels Cycling Classic and the Grand Prix de Fourmies.

First run in 1893 as Paris-Brussels, the Belgian event has undergone several significant changes a few years ago, such as a new name – Brussels Cycling Classic – which led to the race being held entirely on Belgian territory.

Despite not being part of the World Tour calendar, Brussels Cycling Classic has aroused the interest of some of the sport’s biggest names, being won over the years by Octave Lapize, Briek Schotte, Eddy Merckx and Tom Boonen.

The 97th edition of the race will start from Jubelpark and conclude in Heysel, after 201.3 nervous kilometres, which will include no less than 13 hills which could wreak havoc in the peloton. The last of these climbs comes more than 20 kilometres from the finish, so there’s a fair chance of a bunch gallop on the Avenue Houba de Strooper.

Victorious in 14 races this season, including five Tour de France stages, Marcel Kittel will lead the charge for Quick-Step Floors on Saturday afternoon, at the Brussels Cycling Classics, where the 29-year-old German will be joined by Rémi Cavagna, Dries Devenyns, Omloop Mandel winner Iljo Keisse, Davide Martinelli, Fabio Sabatini, Pieter Serry and Julien Vermote.

Just one day later, six of these riders, together with Gianluca Brambilla and Petr Vakoc (who’ll replace Keisse and Martinelli), will line out for the 85th edition of the Grand Prix de Fourmies (205 kilometres), where Kittel will try to become the first foreign rider in four decades to take back-to-back wins.

The French race has an undulating terrain, which the attackers will find suitable, but the fast men of the peloton also have a solid chance of fighting for the win, as Kittel proved 12 months ago, when he stormed to a spectacular victory.


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