cycling news / Nõmmela 5th between pro riders during Belgian triptych
THE LAST WEEKS, LEOPARD PRO CYCLING FOUND ITSELF BACK IN BELGIUM, WHERE THE LUXEMBOURGISH UCI CONTINENTAL TEAM TOOK PART IN KAMPIOENSCHAP VAN VLAANDEREN, OMLOOP VAN HET HOUTLAND LICHTERVELDE (BOTH UCI 1.1) AND GOOIKSE PIJL (UCI 1.2).
Aksel Nõmmela sprints to amazing 5th position
On the 15th of September, Koolskamp Koers took place, an UCI 1.1 race that is better know as the Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen. With amongst others Quick Step, Lotto Soudal, AG2R La Mondiale and Team LottoNL-Jumbo at the start line, the battle for a respectable result for Leopard was not going to be easy. Seven riders were able to distance themselves from the pack, but they were not able to compete with the pace that was being set by the Quick Step team. A few kilometers from the finish line, Aksel Nõmmela just avoided a crash and was therefore still in contention for a top result in the bunch sprint. In this sprint, Dylan Groenewegen took off rapidly but was just beaten by Fernando Gaviria. Behind these two fast guys, Nõmmela almost sprinted to third place, but the Estonian was just beaten and finished in fifth.
Active Leopard in opening phase at Omloop van het Houtland
After Nõmmela’s great result and the astonishing performance of Tom Wirtgen at the U23 World Time Trial Championships, Leopard Pro Cycling traveled to the Omloop van het Houtland Lichtervelde. As soon as the start was given, our Italian Carmelo Foti was part of a three-man breakaway group. Unfortunately, the peloton was not letting this break go, which resulted in a very fast first hour of racing with an average speed of 48 kilometers per hour. Then, another Leopard rider attacked. This time, John Mandrysch gave it a go and he was able to establish a lead of over three minutes together with Hans Kristian Rudland. Because of Lotto Soudal’s pace in the peloton, 36 riders joined the leading duo just before entering the final eight local laps. Against all odds, everything came back together after which an attack from Tom Devriendt, Maarten Wynants and Brian van Goethem followed. Because of the miscalculation of the peloton, the three riders were able to cross the line in this order. For Leopard, Pons, Mandrysch, Foti and Rekita finished the race in the bunch.
No luck at Gooikse Pijl
Good performances in the previous two Belgian races unfortunately didn’t receive a follow-up at the Gooikse Pijl, a small town in between Geraardsbergen and Brussels. The fourteenth edition of this race had a chaotic begin with attacks and a front group of no less than 22 riders. This group turned out to be the decisive one, so it’s a shame that the Leopard riders just missed out on this move. After a solid team effort, Kenny Dehaes bursted to his first victory of the season and 42 seconds later, Gäetan Pons sprinted to the third position in the first following group, which saw him finishing the race in 22nd. Also John Mandrysch and youngster Luc Wirtgen were part of this group.