cycling news / Second win of the season at Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux
Sunday, Leopard Pro Cycling concluded a succesful Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux. On the final day of the three-day stage race, the Luxembourgish UCI Continental Team obtained a third place in the ITT with Tom Wirtgen, while Aksel Nõmmela sprinted to a stage win in the afternoon.
The Leopard Pro Cycling riders started the Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux off in a good way. In the first stage from Flobecq to Warcoing their always was a Leopard outfit in the front as Alexander Krieger and Jan Brockhoff mixed in amongst several attacking groups. Unfortunately, Brockhoff’s group was caught back at around ten kilometres from the finish line. Here, Krieger still managed to sprint to a sixth position after his earlier efforts. All in all, the opening day was a good base for the upcoming stages.
After the start of the second stage, no breakaway groups managed to establish a solid lead over the peloton. In the descent of the third categorized climb of the day, some crashes happened in the first part of the peloton, which involved the majority of the riders. Four Leopard Pro Cycling riders went down of which Szymon Rekita unfortunately had to abandon the race. After a short neutralization, the peloton started racing again on the local laps with two cobbled sections in it. Here, the team struggled with three flat tires, which caused that a break of nineteen was able to stay clear without a Leopard rider.
On the final day, the team bounced back with some great performances. In the early morning, Tom Wirtgen and Jan Brockhoff rode solid time trials which placed them in the top ranks of the overall classification. Just like last year, Wirtgen just missed out on the win as he was only one second slower than a duo from Axeon Hagens Berman. After this the goal was simple: protect the overall ranking of Brockhoff and Wirtgen, in which the team succeeded. As the pack approached the finish line in Chièvres, Wirtgen made himself useful in the lead-out for Aksel Nõmmela. The Estonian finished the job in a fantastic manner and delivered Leopard Pro Cycling the second win of the season.
Aksel Nõmmela: “We knew that the position before the last corner was crucial. Just before this turn, a Sunweb Development rider passed me and launched his sprint, which was perfect for me. I immediately knew that I was in the right position for a top result. Still, this stage win surprises me a bit as today it was not the plan to ride for me. We ‘only’ wanted to protect the positions of Jan Brockhoff and Tom Wirtgen in the GC.”
Tom Wirtgen: “I felt really good in this time trial. Even though I was again very close to the stage win, I am still really happy that my hard work pays off. Already on the first day you could notice that last week’s Tour of Normandie had a positive effect on my shape. After my time trial, I was in a very good position in the GC. The whole team helped me to stay in a good place overall and I am happy that I was able to thank them by leading-out Aksel to his stage win.”
Markus Zingen, DS: “All the action on the last day of Le Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux was well deserved for the team as the performances were already good the days before. After a second stage with a lot of bad luck, we showed resistance and determination on the final day. We can be happy with the top ten places for Tom Wirtgen and Jan Brockhoff in the GC, even though this result could possibly be better without the misfortune of the second day. We hope that Szymon Rekita recovers fast from his heavy crash, so he can be present at the Circuit des Ardennes next week. This race has given the whole team self-confidence and we hope for more good results in the upcoming races.”