The Tour Alsace is done and dusted. After five days with some brutal climbs, Leopard Pro Cycling has shown it's capabilities by being active in every single stage. In the end, Szymon Rekita finished the race in tenth overall, slightly improving on last year's result.
Many attacking kilometers for Leopard Pro Cycling riders
On Wednesday, the Tour Alsace started with a 4,7 kilometers long team time trial in which the teams were seperated into two parts of three riders. Both Leopard trio's did not have the best of times, completing the course with a disadvantage of 18 and 21 seconds to the winners of the national selection of USA. However, with lots of climbing coming up in the next days, it was all to play for. After a somewhat chaotic start, eleven strong riders formed the group of the day, building a lead up to over five minutes to the bunch. Despite the work of Leopard, Astana and the United States, the group was able to stay away, crossing the line 1'38" earlier than the peloton.
At stage two on Friday, the Tour Alsace continued with a mountain top finish on La Planche des Belles Filles. In the beginning of the stage, four riders went clear from the peloton. Amongst them was Leopard's Filip Maciejuk and with the lead going up 3'30" things looked really good. Unfortunately, the break was caught at the start of the last climb of the day, but quickly Leopard had another rider in front as Szymon Rekita - eleventh in the GC of last year's edition - cranked his gears. Rekita was not able to continue his great performance yet and was being dropped from the chasers with the summit in sight, but still moved up to 35th overall.
The next day was not going to be easy as well, as the race went up to Lac Blanc on the penultimate day after countless altitude meters. Directly after the start the road went up and a group of twelve distanced themselves with again Szymon Rekita in this first group. Because of the danger of this strong group, the bunch reeled them back in mid-race which opened opportunities for several attacks. Three 'fresh' riders formed the new breakaway and with about 20 kilometers from the finish line, Leopard's Rekita had another go and bridged the two minute gap to the front! Four kilometers from the summit and the finish line, new riders had bridged from the bunch and Rekita found himself back in a seven men group. Given his efforts during the day, the Leopard Pro Cycling rider was not able to follow the late attacks and crossed the line in a very good sixth position, moving up to tenth in the GC.
On the final day, again Szymon Rekita was part of the breakaway group, this time with his Luxembourgish team mate Pit Leyder and sixteen other strong riders. As the lead of the break went up to over four minutes, Rekita found himself the virtual race leader for quite a long time. In the late final, it became clear that the leading group was going to battle for the victory and new attacks took place. Two riders were able to open a solid gap and nobody saw them back before the finish. Twelve other riders with Szymon Rekita stayed close together as the others were reeled back in by the bunch. In the sprint of the chasing group, Rekita finished third, making him fifth on the day and protecting his tenth result in the final ranking. In the peloton Leopard's Alexander Krieger sprinted to second and seventeeth on the day.
Result GC - Tour Alsace:
10. Szymon Rekita (POL) + 3'01"
33. Luc Wirtgen (LUX) + 13'54"
39. Alexander Krieger (GER) + 18'54"
47. Filip Maciejuk (POL) + 23'05"
68. Pit Leyder (LUX) + 35'54"
100. Jan Brockhoff (GER) + 55'08"