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Road Season Preview 2004

February 10, 2004

Lotto - Domo

Lotto-Domo team presentation

The Lotto-Domo squad was presented on Tuesday in Oudenaarde, Belgium. The 23 man squad managed by Christophe Sercu is remarkable in that it only has one new rider this year: Pole Piotr Wadecki, who rode for Quick.Step last year. The remainder of the team is identical to the 2003 line up.

Peter Van Petegem remains the absolute team captain for the classics and one day races. Winner of the two biggest classics in 2003 (Ronde Van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix), Van Petegem is aiming for another solid performance this year. Asked by Belgian TV1 if the thought of having to do as well as last season is something that keeps him awake at night, Van Petegem, relaxed as always, smiled, "I don't lie awake thinking about races. I'm not nervous at all. The only time I wake during the night is when my son Axandre wakes, otherwise I have peace of mind."

Team management says it will be more than happy if Van Petegem can repeat last year's success. On the other hand, Australian sprinter Robbie McEwen is expected to gather more results this season. After an incredible 2002, McEwen's results in 2003 were slightly below par.

"McEwen expects a lot more of himself too," he with his habitual confidence. "I want to win more, a lot more, as well in the classics as in the Giro, the Tour and the Olympics."

McEwen may have to wait before the results come, as he is suffering from tendonitis after his crash in Qatar and won't be starting in the Ruta del Sol.

One of the team's other main riders, Axel Merckx, says that he wants to have a better season than 2003 and has his sights set on the Olympic Games in Athens. "I'm relieved. In 2003 I was suffering from a virus. Now I can find my best legs again. I'm aiming at the Ardennes classics, but above all at the Games. I am a circuit racer and the Athens parcours suits me," said Merckx.

Finally, Rik Verbrugghe, who has had a slow start to the season due to a knew injury, wants to put the dark days behind him. His main goal is the prologue of the Tour de France in Liege. "I've ridden the parcours many times," said Verbrugghe. "But I have to find the form of 2001 and 2002 again."

Click here for the Lotto-Domo team roster.