cycling news / Krieger & Spengler brighten rainy day at GP Lillers
BY BEING IN THE MAIN BREAKAWAY AT THE GRAND PRIX CYCLISTE INTERNATIONAL DE LA VILLE DE LILLERS, GERMAN ALEXANDER KRIEGER SPICED THINGS UP FOR LEOPARD PRO CYCLING IN WHAT WAS A RAINY AND GLOOMY RACE DAY. ALL IN ALL A GOOD PERFORMANCE THAT WAS FOLLOWED BY MARIO SPENGLER AND PIT LEYDER WHO FOUND THEMSELVES IN SECOND AND SIXTH POSITION IN THE BUNCH SPRINT FINISH, FINISHING THE RACE IN TENTH AND FOURTEENTH.
Tough day in the saddle due to not to underestimate weather conditions
Despite the heavy rainfall, lots of attacks happened in the first part of the race. It was one breakaway group after the other, leading to an average speed of 42,2 kilometers in the first hour. With about 60 kilometers into the action, there was still no group that had established themselves in front, but not much later five riders managed to do so. This successful breakaway group consisted next to Leopard Pro Cycling’s Alexander Krieger of Andrea Pasqualon, Kevin Van Melsen (both Wanty-Group Gobert), Emiel Vermeulen (Roubaix-Lille Métropole) and Rory Townsend (Canyon Eisberg).
Because of a good cooperation amongst the attackers, the lead grew from 45” up to 1’30” with three laps – and thus 56,1 kilometers – to go. Sensing the danger of the attack, which had lost Rory Townsend, the Vital Concept team decided to take control as they brought the lead back to a respectable margin. Unfortunately, before heading into the final lap, Alexander Krieger had emptied the tank by winning the sprints and combination classification, meaning that also the German had to leave his fellow attackers behind.
As the race approached the finish line, Emiel Vermeulen crashed in front, leaving the two Wanty riders at the front of the race. Since six riders bridged the gap from the peloton to the leaders, they had no problem in leaving the two early attackers behind. With a late, powerful push, sprinter Jérémy Lecroq was able to thank his teammates with a solo victory, about one minute before the peloton arrived in the city center of Lillers with Leopard-debutant Mario Spengler in second position, which was good for the tenth place. Also Pit Leyder, Jens Reynders and Gaëtan Pons took respectable finishing positions. For Mario Spengler, it meant a great debut in the Leopard colours.
Mario Spengler: “Today was all about staying as warm as possible and riding in a good position, since the race was made difficult and hard by the rain and the cold temperatures. In the bunch we were in a good position, because we had Alexander in the breakaway. I tried to attack on the last climb of the day, but this didn’t work out as planned. Therefore I just tried to jump later and I was able to do the sprint of the first chasing group. In this sprint I was happy to finish second. I can handle this kind of weather really good and so it’s nice to start the season with Leopard with a good performance. I am looking forward to everything what’s coming.”
1. Jérémy Lecroq (Vital Concept)
10. Mario Spengler (SUI) + 0’58”
14. Pit Leyder (LUX) s.t.
22. Jens Reynders (BEL) s.t.
24. Gaëtan Pons (LUX) s.t.
44. Alexander Krieger (GER) + 2’41”
DNF. Konrad Gessner (GER)
DNF. Jan Brockhoff (GER)