Leopard’s Arthur Kluckers wins final stage Flèche du Sud
It was the best possible way to end this year’s Flèche du Sud: with a stage win. 22-year-old Kluckers delivered.
The Flèche du Sud (UCI 2.2) summarized
Edition 71 of the Flèche du Sud started with an evening stage in the surroundings of Kayl. A two-men breakaway had no chance against the pack and in the bunch sprint, Leopard’s Tim Torn Teutenberg started with a solid result: fourth. It gave the team motivation for the remainder of the race and already one day later we found first Cedric Pries in the breakaway, and later Justin Wolf who was present in a dangerous move in the difficult final laps of the stage. In the end, the hoped-for result was not there for Leopard, despite having Elias Maris in thirteenth and Cedric Pries as most competitive rider of the day.
Day three around Bourscheid promised to be the most difficult one of the entire race and it did not disappoint. Already before the very difficult local laps in the final, many riders were dropped, also thanks to the work of the Leopard riders in the peloton. An elimination race was the result and Arthur Kluckers crossed the line as best Leopard rider, 24 seconds behind the stage winner Thibau Nys, as he moved up to nineteenth overall. One day later, Kluckers won four more places in the GC, since he was part of the first group that battled for the victory in a sprint. In this final kick, Tim Torn Teutenberg showed again his fast legs as sixth best of the day.
Then, on the final day it happened for Leopard. The stage was marked by a not-so dangerous breakaway group of five that was controlled by the bunch. In the final, another group went into the attack and joined the front group. An eager Arthur Kluckers was part of this group, following his own disappointment in the first four days so far. After an intense battle, the peloton came very close, but it was just enough for Kluckers and some of his fellow-attackers. The Leopard rider had the fastest – or smartest – legs and was able to raise his arms to conclude this year’s Flèche du Sud with a well-deserved stage win.
Result Flèche du Sud (UCI 2.2)
1. Thibau Nys (BEL) – Baloise Trek Lions
15. Arthur Kluckers (LUX) + 0’47”
20. Elias Maris (BEL) + 1’35”
46. Tim Torn Teutenberg (GER) + 13’55”
51. Cedric Pries (LUX) + 16’32”
52. Justin Wolf (GER) + 16’40”
DNF. Jarno Mobach (NED)
09-12.06 Oberösterreich Rundfahrt | Austria | UCI 2.2
19.06 Midden-Brabant Poort Omloop | The Netherlands | UCI 1.2
Arthur Kluckers, winner stage five
"I am extremely happy with my first win of the season. It is even more special that I could raise my hands on home soil. Both for me and for the team this win is important. We made a plan to attack with about 20 km to go and I am happy that it worked out and that I was able to sprint for the victory. Now I am even more looking forward to the next race, which is the Course de la Paix Grand Prix Jeseníky, which I will do with the national team. There I was third in the GC last year, so I have great motivation to go again for a top result."