Danilith Nokere Classic: Gerts and Dillier Launch Late Attacks Before Bunch Sprint15. March 2017, Nokere (BEL) — Road Team
The Belgian cobbles always provide the backdrop to exciting racing and Danilith Nokere Classic was no exception with BMC Racing Team animating the closing stages of the race before a Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) won the bunch sprint for the line.
A fast pace from KM 0 saw all breakaway attempts quickly neutralized and the peloton remained together over the first 80km of the 192.3km race. It wasn't until the first of seven 15.4km local laps that a breakaway of seven riders was given the freedom to carve out an advantage which reached a maximum of just over three minutes.
As the gap started to fall steadily, BMC Racing Team took control at the front of the peloton and after an injection of pace from Martin Elmiger bringing the breakaway were brought to within one minute.
With the race back together and a bunch sprint on the cards, nerves shook the peloton and multiple crashes occurred as teams began to organize themselves into position for the final cobbled section.
Floris Gerts and Silvan Dillier took advantage of the subsequent lull in pace, launching attacks off the front of the peloton but they were eventually reeled in before the previously predicted bunch sprint played out on the run into Nokere.
Quotes from the Finish Line
"I felt really good today. It was a nervous start to the race with over 80km covered before the breakaway went. For us, a bunch sprint was not the ideal situation so we tried to make it as hard as possible with three laps to go but, unfortunately we couldn't make any serious sprints at the end of the day. We gave it everything we could especially with Floris Gerts and myself attacking at the end. For me, making a move that late in the race was a real test in my form and it gives me confidence going into Milan San Remo. It's a long race on Saturday and today I showed that even after 190km, I still had enough energy and strength in my legs to work for the team."
"I felt really strong today and in the end, I was in a position where I could make a move and I felt like it was worth the shot. I was able to make a split with a couple of guys and then attacked again on my own when we were brought back but I think it would have been better if I had had some company as it could have maybe stayed away longer. We wanted to make the race hard at the end and ride aggressively which we did. You are always looking for opportunities in a race to either help your teammates or try something yourself and today was another good day for that. You have to make the most of every race and build your form step by step."
Danilith Nokere Classic
One-day race / 192.3km
Top 3: 1. Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) 2. Adam Blythe (Aqua Blue Sport) 3. Joeri Stallaert (Cibel - Cebon)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 23. Martin Elmiger 27. Floris Gerts 35. Loïc Vliegen