As one of the last races of the season, Leopard Pro Cycling heads another time to Belgium to race at the Gooikse Pijl on Sunday. The Luxembourgish UCI Continental Team comes to the race with the plan to be active and come home with a top result.
ROSTER: Jan Brockhoff, Konrad Gessner, Alexander Krieger, Gaëtan Pons, Charlie Quarterman, Jens Reynders & Mario Spengler - DS: Gregor Willwohl
Another UCI 1.1 race in Belgium, another time with the presence of Leopard Pro Cycling. The Gooikse Pijl is ready for it's fifteenth edition and has seen some strong names like Oliver Naesen, Jürgen Roelandts and Kenny Dehaes (last year) winning the race in the past. As you expect, Gooik - a small town in between Geraardsbergen and Brussels - plays a key role in the race as it hosts the start and finish to the race. Starting just before noon, the riders have to cover a total racing distance of 198 kilometers, being divided into 9 laps of 22 kilometers each in the surroundings of Gooik. These laps are not flat at all, even more the Flemish climbs along the route can really kill the legs as the laps increase.
Leopard will be joined in Gooik by one WorldTour, five Pro Continental and eighteen Continental teams, resulting in a start field of well over 170 riders. In the past Leopard has been able to take a top ten result on two occassions. In 2012, Eugenio Alafaci sprinted to fourth in the bunch sprint and in 2015 Pit Schlechter was part of a strong leading group and finished in fifth after winner Oliver Naesen. The last two years, the race was decided in a mass sprint finish in which Leopard Pro Cycling was not able to cross the line amongst the first ten. The goal is to do better this year and Swiss rider Mario Spengler is already very motivated.
Mario Spengler: "I expect an open race at Gooikse Pijl. The race is not flat, but also not full of climbs, so we will see if it turns out to be a bunch sprint or a smaller group that will fight for the victory. We have with Alexander a very good sprinter in our ranks and with the rest we should try to be active and be present in breakaways. I raced a hard Pro Kermesse race this week, so I hope to be fully recovered and go in the right moment to make the break on Sunday. I will try my best and since it almost the last race of the season, I want to end on a high with a good feeling."