With the Flèche du Sud in the books, Leopard Pro Cycling is halfway through their most important weeks of the season. Wednesday, the team will already sign the start sheet of the Tour de Luxembourg.
The Flèche du Sud turned out to be a very demanding one. One where the names we recognize from the cyclocross season had a blast. It was Quinten Hermans who was able to take three stage wins in a row. It already started at the prologue, which has a nasty climb in it. Pit Leyder started the Flèche well and was Leopard's first finisher, 18 seconds behind the Belgian. The day after, the race had a rather unusual scenario. Ater the third GPM of the day, the first, second and seventh of the GC attacked and reached the finish line with more than three minutes margin to the bunch.
During day three there was a high pace all day long. Together with the many altitude meters, this made that the stage became a true elimination race. Only the strongest riders were able to show themselves at the front. Leopard's Jack Burke was one of them and crossed the line as twelfth, only 23 seconds down to the stage winner Hermans. There was, however, no room for a recovery ride, since the two final stages were again a big fight. Despite many GPM's in both stages, the bunch had all under control and bunch sprint finishes were inevitable. In the penultimate stage, Pit Leyder sprinted to eleventh and in the final stage, Colin Heiderscheid showed his fast legs by finishing fourth on the day. Jack Burke is Leopard's best rider in the final GC, as he ended the race in fifteenth.
GC Flèche du Sud (2.2)
15. Jack Burke (CAN) + 4'05"
37. Szymon Rekita (POL) + 13'38"
41. Filip Maciejuk (POL) + 15'23"
47. Pit Leyder (LUX) + 16'25"
98. Colin Heiderscheid (LUX) + 1h06'30"
102. Mario Spengler (SUI) + 1h11'42"
Roster Tour de Luxembourg: Jack Burke, Konrad Gessner, Alexander Krieger, Pit Leyder, Filip Maciejuk, Gaëtan Pons & Szymon Rekita - DS: Markus Zingen
Four riders that took part in the Flèche du Sud are also present at the Tour de Luxembourg, the main event of Leopard Pro Cycling's 2019 season. The team is looking for back to back top results.
The Tour de Luxembourg starts again with a prologue through the city center of the capital. Altough the course has been redesigned, the Breedewee climb (350m at 15%) will still play a huge role in the decision for who will take the first yellow jersey of the week. In stage one, the peloton will leave the capital to finish in Hautcharage after a not too difficult stage with a not to underestimate final with some altitude meters. The finish of the second stage will, however, be a lot more tricky, since the climbs of the Michelsbierg (2,1km at 8%) and Boursdorf (1,3 at 4,5%) are situated close to the line. After reaching the top of Boursdorf, only thirteen kilometers are left. Then, the weekend starts with the queen stage of this years' edition. The stage features six official climbs of which the last one is the ascent to the finish line at the Caserne Grand-Duc Jean, where time gaps between the riders are almost a certainty. As usual, the Tour de Luxembourg will finish on Sunday after going up the Pabeierbierg (825m at 9%) multiple times. Last year, it was here where Pit Leyder and Alexander Krieger secured their top five finishes in the GC. The team hopes to do the same this year, but still knows the fact that they are amongst many UCI Pro Continental teams.
Markus Zingen, Sports Director: "Everybody can imagine that we didn't fulfill our expectations at the Fleche du Sud. We simply came for more. We had in the past good GC results and we wanted to repeat this with the good potential we have in our team this season. Unforunately it didn't turn out this waay. It seems like the Tour of Luxembourg suits us better and now we need to focus 100% on this next challenge. We will stand at the start line with self-confidence and with the great memories and results of 2018 in our mind."
Tour de Luxembourg (2.HC)
05.06 | Luxembourg | 2,1 km
06.06 | Luxembourg - Hautcharage | 191,3 km
07.06 | Steinfort - Rosport | 168,6 km
08.06 | Mondorf - Diekirch | 178,7 km
09.06 | Mersch - Luxembourg | 176,0 km