From gravel roads and almost no altitude meters to a challenging stage race with lots of ascents and descents. These days Leopard Pro Cycling is very active. Last Sunday, the team took the start at Slag om Norg and next Thursday, the riders will sign the start sheet of the Czech Cycling Tour.
At the Slag om Norg, everyone knew that the day would be a very tough one. With about 50 kilometers of gravel roads, open fields and very strong Dutch winds, all ingredients were there for an epic battle. Already in the first hour of racing, the peloton split into four pieces due to expected echelons. The groups never got back to form one peloton again, also because the race already approached the first gravel roads of the day.
In the local laps in Norg, things got really serious as the gravel sections came in quick succession. A front group of thirteen rode away, unfortunately Leopard's Mario Spengler just missed out, lacking the punch after riding the European Championships one day before. A real elimination race started with numerous guys dropping out. Four riders approached the finish line, where Coen Vermeltfoort sprinted to the victory. In the background Mario Spengler, Bas van Belle and Jan Maas were amongst the only 47 riders finishing the race.
Result Slag om Norg (1.1)
32. Mario Spengler (SUI) + 4'20"
36. Bas van Belle (NED) + 4'28"
44. Jan Maas (NED) + 7'24"
DNF. Misch Leyder, Gaëtan Pons & Colin Heiderscheid (all LUX)
Roster Czech Cycling Tour: Jack Burke, Alexander Krieger, Jan Maas, Filip Maciejuk, Gaëtan Pons, Szymon Rekita & Misch Leyder - DS: Jan Brockhoff
Leopard Pro Cycling left the gravel roads behind and exchanges them for the mountainous roads of the Czech Cycling Tour. The race starts with a team time trial in Ostrava, the second largest city of the Czech Republic. It is here where the first gaps in the GC will be created and it goes without saying that there will be plenty of riders that want to go all-out on the second day from Olomouc to Frýdek-Místek. In this stage, the peloton will find some tough climbs on their route. The third stage is relatively easy, with the last 35 kilometers being completely flat. One that has some catching up to do in the overall ranking can save the energy for the closing stage to Šternberk, where the local finishing circuit features three ascents of the steep Ecce Homo climb. Leopard travels with a strong and talented squad to this race, where they will face the likes of amongst others BORA-hansgrohe and Mitchelton Scott.
Czech Cycling Tour (UCI 2.1)
15.08 | Ostrava (TTT) | 16,0 km
16.08 | Olomouc - Frýdek-Místek | 186,6 km
17.08 | Olomouc - Uničov | 175,3 km
18.08 | Mohelnice - Šternberk | 178,0 km
(c) Pictures: Roelof Daalmeijer / RODA-fotografie & Erik de Weerd