In our 2018 review, Leopard Pro Cycling looks back to the season with its riders. In this third part, Pit Leyder relives the months of May and June, months were Leyder reached great shape and results in races such as Flèche Ardennaise (1.2), Flèche du Sud (2.2), Tour de Luxembourg (2.HC) and the U23 Nationals.
"My third place in the GC of the Tour de Luxembourg was above my expectations."
As soon as we could turn the calendar to May, Luxembourger Pit Leyder started a great run of top results in the races he took part in. With the rather important home races - Flèche du Sud and Tour de Luxembourg - coming up, the sixth place at the difficult Flèche Ardennaise was a welcome boost for the morale. What followed were five days of hard, uncontrolled racing at the Flèche du Sud which demanded a lot from Leyder. However, the 21-year-old was able to focus and stay amongst the first riders each day, resulting in an eighth place in the general classification and the third place in the best young rider classification.
Pit Leyder: "The Fléche du Sud was very hard and really hectic at times. No one was able to control the race, which caused that there were many attacks. All these attacks made it not easy, but in the end I was satisfied with the outcome. The eighth position overall was good, since I marked the Flèche du Sud as one of my goals for the season."
After participating in Paris-Roubaix U23 (43rd), the Tour de Luxembourg was the next race on the calendar. It was here where Leyder excelled and maybe even suprised himself. After a strong prologue in which Leyder took a lot of risks, he came through the first stage without any problems. Stage two finished on a very steep slope in Schifflange and despite starting a bit too far back, Leyder finished together with his teammate Alexander Krieger within the first five. In the penultimate stage to Differdange, Leyder survived and became the leader in the young riders classification, but it was at the tough final stage up the Pabeierbierg where Leyder battled for the victory and crossed the line in a very satisfying fourth position, securing his white leaders jersey and moving up to third overall.
Pit Leyder: "The Tour de Luxembourg was a great week for everyone at Leopard Pro Cycling. We showed ourselves with some good performances and to do it on home soil at the most important race of the season was just so special. My third place in the GC was above my expectations and I can only be happy with that. All this gave me huge confidence for the following weeks in which I became the U23 Luxembourgish National Champion and finished 10th at the super hard course of the U23 European Championships. At Tour de l'Avenir I didn't get a top result - five times top twenty -, but still it was a good race for the team and myself. For next year I want to perform well in the important U23 races and in some pro races. 2019 is my last year in the U23 ranks, so I want to enjoy those races and get the best results possible with the team."