In dreadful weather conditions, Leopard Pro Cycling yesterday took part in the Gooikse Pijl, a Belgian UCI 1.1 race. Despite the efforts, the team missed out on the decisive breakaway group and was forced to chase. Alexander Krieger sprinted to a solid result, but was later pulled out of the classification by the jury.
No battle for the victory, despite the attractive style of racing
At Gooikse Pijl, the peloton was up for nine laps of 22 kilometers each in weather conditions that did not make life easier. In the pouring rain, the race went underway and in the first laps there we already many riders dropped from the peloton that quickly broke into pieces. The first attacks took place and after about 40 kilometers of racing also Leopard Pro Cycling got involved. First it was Charlie Quarterman who formed a front group of four with amongst others Dylan Groenewegen. When a counter-attacked took place, Belgian Jens Reynders made sure he was part of it. This meant that when the groups merged into one, the seven leaders in front had two Leopard Pro Cycling jerseys in it. However, the lead went never over 40 seconds to the first part of the bunch and unfortunately they were brought back fairly quick.
Immediately there were new attacks. First five riders went up the road and they were then completed by six other guys. Since Leopard missed the right move, Jens Reynders tried one more time to bridge to the front, but he found himself in the chasse-patate. The leaders took a gap of over 3 minutes and nobody was able to close them down, also not Leopard's Mario Spengler who gave it a go at 25 kilometers from the finish line. Five riders remained in front as the demanding race caused elimination and altough the peloton was closing down on them fast, the five in front were going to sprint for the victory. It was Belgian Jordi Meeus who took the win, Gaëtan Pons was the first Leopard rider at the line: 19th.
Three Leopard riders were not to be found in the final results. In a crash early in the stage, Jan Brockhoff went down, hit his knee hard and was forced to leave the race in the ambulance. Luckily, it turned out that the German did not run into a very serious injury. Also Konrad Gessner did not finish the race. The German sprinter went down in a crash during a Pro Kermesse race a few days before and had too much pain in his shoulder to continue. Then, Alexander Krieger crossed the finish line amongst the first riders of the peloton, but was not classified. Earlier on the day, also Alexander Krieger hit the deck. Both him and the Leopard team car were passed by the broom wagon, leaving them stuck in traffic. Both returned to the race and the back of the convoy after 25 kilometers of chasing, but the jury decided that Krieger was not part of the race anymore.
Charlie Quarterman: "This race was a pretty crazy one with big groups coming and oging off the front. I was really happy that I could get into these moves and drive them on, but unfortunately things didn't go my way and it came back together. I think a slightly lucky group formed out front and the peloton relaxed too much, so I had to pull on the front with some teammates trying to set up our sprinters. All in all we rode a really good race and were very active, but just unfortunate in the outcome."
Results Gooikse Pijl (UCI 1.1)
19. Gaëtan Pons (LUX) + 0'04"
38. Jens Reynders (BEL) + 0'04"
56. Mario Spengler (SUI) + 0'04"
93. Charlie Quarterman (GBR) + 3'08"
DNF. Jan Brockhoff (GER)
DNF. Konrad Gessner (GER)
NQ. Alexander Krieger (GER)