cycling news / Succesful days for Leopard at Europeans and Havenpijl
WITH A SEVENTH POSITION AT THE ELITE ROAD RACE OF THE EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS, AKSEL NÕMMELA MIXED HIMSELF IN WITH THE WORLDS BEST. A GREAT RESULTS FOR THE ESTONIAN, WHO SAW HIS TEAMMATES PERFORM WELL AT THE ANTWERPSE HAVENPIJL.
NÕMMELA SPRINTS TO SEVENTH AT EUROPEANS
KRIEGER HELPS ACKERMANN TO FOURTH POSITION
Herning, Denmark, hosted the 2017 Road European Championships. Prior to this major event, Leopard Pro Cycling’s Aksel Nõmmela and Alexander Krieger received the news that they made the roster of their country and that they were invited to take part in the Elite Men’s race. As if this was not enough good news, the result after no less than 240 kilometres of racing were very satisfying. Early in the race, three riders attacked and had a lead that reached the twelve minute mark at some point. First Italy, Denmark and Norway pulled at the front, before Belgium went all-in, trying to make the race as hard as possible. With 90 kilometers to go, the break was caught in a race that was marked by a lot of punctures. Despite several dangerous attacks in the final, a bunch sprint was inevitable. With his seventh position, Nõmmela finished the race as first non-World Tour rider in the results. Alexander Krieger finished in 48th position after helping his leader Pascal Ackermann to a fourth position in the final sprint.
Earlier this week, Tom Wirtgen and Pit Leyder were active in the U23 ranks of the European Championships. First, Wirtgen took part in the time trial where the 21-year-old rode to a respectable twelfth position, 1’48” down to winner Kasper Asgreen. A few days later, the U23 road race took place. Here, young Luxembourger Pit Leyder showed his capabilities by arriving at the finish in the main bunch, rolling in in seventeenth.
Aksel Nõmmela: “I am very happy with today’s result. It means a lot to me that I can finish seventh in this strong field of the Elite Men European Championships. The race itself was quite easy. Because we were only with three Estonians, we knew that we couldn’t control the race, so our tactic was to follow the bigger teams. Unfortunately, we lost Martin Laas mid-race but Alo Jakin helped me a lot to stay in a good position in the final. Luckily, I avoided the crashes and didn’t have any punctures, which made it a bit easier today. Again, I am very happy with the result.”
Pit Leyder: “The U23 road race was a hectic race with lots of crashes and punctures, but luckily I was not involved. In the end of the race I tried to make a good result, but for me it’s hard to fight against the pure sprinters. It was a nice experience and I am happy with how everything went. Also this race gives me more confidence and now I keep the focus high for the upcoming races.”
LEOPARD RIDES AGRESSIVE IN ANTWERP
TOP TEN PLACES FOR REYNDERS & BROCKHOFF
The Antwerpse Havenpijl started off in a bad way for Leopard. After being present in all breakaways, the bunch suddenly had to stop because of a crash in the middle of the field. For Leopard, Charlie Quarterman was involved and found himself in the ditch with – what turned out later – a broken collarbone and wrist.
The first serious attack of the day came after the first of two big loops. The Tanfield brothers of Bike Channel went away, but were caught back before the race hit the smaller local circuits. The next four-men move involved Leopard Pro Cycling’s Carmelo Foti, later joined by a bigger group that had also Szymon Rekita, Jens Reynders and Jan Brockhoff in it. Heading into the final lap, five riders managed to attack from this front group and gather a lead that turned out to be enough to fight for the victory. Arvid de Kleijn sprinted to the victory, in the chasing group Jens Reynders and Jan Brockhoff took seventh and eighth position, which is a respectable result altough more was possible.
Markus Zingen, DS: “Today we had a plan, which was to make the race hard as we wanted to avoid a bunch sprint. We were present in all early breakaways, but unfortunately we lost Charlie at the same time. Of course we wish him a good and speedy recovery. First Carmelo and Szymon were in the right group, later this was also the case for Jens and Jan Brockhoff. Even more was possible, because we should have been there when the five guys went away. That was the only mistake today, but it was a really important one. All in all, we have a positive feeling with the way we competed today. Also the results at the European Championships were very good, which gives us a lot of motivation for the next races!”