cycling news / Topresults for Krieger & Leyder – Leopard welcomes Wirtgen
Leopard Pro Cycling looks back on a succesful weekend. First, Alexander Krieger took on some tough opposition at the Elfstedenronde (UCI 1.1) only to finish within a few bike lengths of winner Wout Van Aert: fourth. Then, inspired by this great result, Pit Leyder took home the win at a local Luxembourgish race in Redange. To top it all off, the team celebrated this succes by officially adding Luc Wirtgen to the team.
In Bruges, the Elfstedenronde – also known as Ride Bruges or the Bruges Cycling Classic – was dusted off. The last edition took place over 25 years ago and Leopard Pro Cycling was invited to participate in this renewed race. Beforehand, the task was not easy. Thirty degrees Celsius, no less than fifteen cobblestone sections and high level opposition were the ingredients for a day of typical Flemish racing.
After the peloton left the astonishing and historical city centre of Bruges, it took a while for a front group to establish itself. Finally six riders went away and gathered an advantage of over three minutes to the pack that was being led by the Belgian National Team. This team also decided to hit the gas pedal after about 150 kilometers in a section where the race approached three cobbled sections in a short period of time. It was here that a selection of fourteen was being made and it turned out that Leopard had Alexander Krieger in the front with just two local laps in Bruges to go.
Despite a few attacks in the last kilometers, a sprint of the leading group was inevitable. On the final straight, Alexander posted himself in the wheel of local hero Jens Keukeleire, but both were not able to respond in time to the acceleration of Wout Van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel. The cyclocross youngsters crossed the line in this order, quickly followed by Lawrence Naesen and Alexander in fourth.
Alexander Krieger: “Yesterday was a very good racing day. It already started with the great atmosphere in the city centre of Bruges. Also the course was very nice with all the cobblestones that turned out to be decisive. When the Belgian National Team set the pace high, I did everything I could to follow. In the end I am happy that I could make the jump to the front of the race, as I really give it my all there. This front group stayed together despite some attacks and we went for the sprint. Maybe I could have started my sprint earlier, but I was not sure because there was a slight headwind. All in all, a podium would have been nice, but I am happy with my fourth position and the team performance and I am already looking forward to next weeks National Championships.
Meanwhile, two of Leopard Pro Cycling’s Luxembourgers – Pit Leyder and Pit Schlechter – participated in a local race in Redange about 25 kilometers Northwest from Luxembourg-City. The organizers of the race made the race consist of a small lap that had a slight uphill kick to the finish line, just the way Pit Leyder likes it. Directly from the start the pace was really high, which didn’t change for the remainder of the race. Pit Leyder showed himself in the breakaway and thanks to a great move, he was able to take home the victory after a solid solo. His teammate Pit Schlechter also rode a respectable race as he finished as first Elite rider in fourth position.
Pit Leyder: “I was able to be part of the breakaway of four. As the pace had been high for the entire race, we lost two of those riders, meaning that me and another guy went into the final. At about 20 kilometers to go, I decided to attack and go to the finish on my own. Even tough the gap was never really big, I still managed to go pretty hard. I am happy that I finished the race solo, which gives me a good feeling. All in all, it was a fun race and a good test before the upcoming Nationals this week.”
Besides the two great results in Bruges and Redange, the Leopard Pro Cycling team is happy to announce that youngster Luc Wirtgen is officially part of the team as of now. The 19-year-old – brother of Leopard rider Tom Wirtgen – was already foreseen to join the team as of the summer and now the time has finally come to make the next step. Luc will make his debut in the Leopard colours at the U23 Luxembourgish National Championships this week.
Luc Wirtgen: “A dream came true for me. It’s amazing to be able to ride for the Leopard Pro Cycling team. It’s especially a special feeling to ride in the same colours as my brother Tom. For sure I’m going to give 100% for the team in the remainder of the season and let’s hope that we can have some good results together. In these first months, I am eager to learn from the more experienced riders and I am hoping to further develop myself as a rider.”