cycling news / Krieger continues great form at Circuit des Ardennes
THE LAST DAYS AT CIRCUIT DES ARDENNES HAVE BEEN A REAL ROLLERCOASTER WITH ROADS THAT WENT UP AND DOWN ALL DAY LONG. IN THIS HIGH-LEVEL RACE, ALEXANDER KRIEGER MANAGED TO CONTINUE HIS GREAT SHAPE. THE 26-YEAR-OLD FOLLOWED HIS SECOND OVERALL RANKING AT THE TOUR DE NORMANDIE WITH A SIXTH POSITION IN THE GC AND TOP TEN RESULTS IN EVERY STAGE.
Szymon Rekita impresses on the countless climbs
Leopard Pro Cycling’s very own Charlie Quarterman opened the Circuit des Ardennes by being the first attacker on the first day. The Brit was not able to get away in this stage with six KOM sprints and several other ascents, but two others did. This leading duo was easy to control for the peloton that had rode at quite a hard pace. The opening day became a real elimination race, but still a big group went all the way to the finish. In the bunch sprint, Alexander Krieger crossed the line in eighth. On the second day, the Leopard team showed itself again at the front with Jens Reynders trying his luck early in the stage and Szymon Rekita crossing the mountain tops amongst the first riders in the race. Nevertheless, with five kilometers to go the pack was complete again and in another bunch sprint Alexander Krieger took seventh position.
Stage three and four took place on Sunday. In the morning stage Alexander Krieger showed that his legs improved day by day. After again covering plenty of altitude meters, the stage was going be decided in another sprint of a bigger group. By crossing the line in fourth – and therefore just missing out on bonification seconds – Alexander Krieger found himself back in fifth in the GC and another top result after his second place at Tour de Normandie was in the making. With Charlie Quarterman, Jens Reynders and Gaëtan Pons already out of the race due to several reasons the team knew that it was not going to be able to control the race. A group of eight riders went clear in the closing stage and were going to decide the stage winner. Alexander Krieger won the bunch sprint for ninth and thus was disappointed that the peloton was not able to close the gap in time.
Alexander Krieger: “Circuit des Ardennes is in the books and it was a really hard stage race with an incredible high level for a UCI 2.2 race. If you look at the results, it looks like it was easy because there was a bunch sprint almost every day. The way we raced showed that the bunch had different plans, and therefore I was surprised to see that every day a big group arrived. The legs were not that great the first stages and I struggled to be in front. I improved stage by stage and in the final stage the legs were really good. I was a bit angry at myself that I ‘only’ finished fourth on stage three, because I could have done better. All in all, I finished the race in sixth. For such a race that’s quite good for me, but especially on the final day there was more possible. My goal now is to improve for the next races.”
Gregor Willwohl, Sports Director: “Just like in Tour de Normandie, the race was decided with bonus sprints. If you look at the results, we finished almost every stage with a big bunch, altough the race was really hard. We came for good results with Alexander and Szymon, especially since Alexander showed his shape as runner-up of the Tour de Normandie. Szymon also showed his great legs by always being in the first part of the race after the climbs. In the end we missed some luck, altough we finished sixth in the general classification and we took a top ten place every stage. We made some individual mistakes, so now we take the time to improve towards the next races..“
6. Alexander Krieger (GER) + 0’10”
44. Szymon Rekita (POL) + 0’21”
94. Jan Brockhoff (GER) + 43’38”
HD. Jens Reynders (BEL)
DNF. Gaëtan Pons (LUX)
DNF. Charlie Quarterman (GBR)