Gooikse Pijl: Bunch Sprint Decides Outcome on Tough Day in Belgium25. September 2016, Gooik (BEL) — Development Team
Belgium is famous for producing exciting one day racing and today’s Gooikse Pijl did not disappoint with the race heating up over the final 50km before heading towards a bunch sprint for the line.
The action started today as soon as the race hit KM 0 and quickly a large breakaway of 12 riders formed but despite the group working hard at the front of the race, the peloton kept their advantage under control and never allowed it to reach beyond 1 minute 30 seconds.
With less than 50km to go, the peloton made the catch and the breakaway were re-absorbed back into the bunch but a fast pace and tough weather conditions on the final section of the race saw the main bunch split in two.
Eventually with the race back together, victory came down to a fine sprint for the line with Aidis Kruopis (Verandas Willems Cycling) the quickest on the day to take the win ahead of Emiel Vermeulen (Team 3M) and Timothy Dupont (Verandas Willems Cycling).
Fabian Lienhard, who has been riding as a stagiaire for BMC Racing Team, was BMC Development Team top places rider after crossing the line with the bunch in 20th place.
Quotes from the Sports Director’s Car
"This race traditionally comes down to a bunch sprint so heading into the race we knew that we would need to be on the look out for opportunities to animate the race and try to disrupt the sprinters. There was a lot of rain at the end and with two laps to go, there was a car that got stuck in some mud and this caused the peloton to be strung out into a long line before splitting into many parts. Our plan was to wait as long as possible before making the race hard as we good to put Fabian in a good position but with only had four guys up front, and then a crash with 1.5km to go, we couldn't do much. Thankfully everybody crossed the line safely today which with the a race a tough as today was in a sense a minor victory for us."
One-day race / 198.1km
Top 3: 1. Aidis Kruopis (Verandas Willems Cycling) 2. Emiel Vermeulen (Team 3M) 3. Timothy Dupont (Verandas Willems Cycling)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 20. Fabian Lienhard 24. Bas Tietema 37. Mario Spengler