Drucker Sprints to Second in Thrilling Finale at Tour de l’Eurometropole22. September 2018, Tournai (BEL) — Road Team
BMC Racing Team rode an aggressive race at Tour de l’Eurometropole with Nathan Van Hooydonck and Danilo Wyss riding as part of the day’s breakaway before being joined by Jempy Drucker who ultimately sprinted to a hard-fought second place on the line.
Van Hooydonck and Wyss formed a third of the day’s six-rider breakaway that went away early and had opened up an advantage of more than seven minutes after 30 kilometers, of the 206-kilometer course.
The BMC Racing Team duo continued to help drive the pace at the front of the race as the first of the day’s 13 climbs began, however, the peloton, which was looking to set the stage for a bunch sprint in Tournai, started to eat into the leaders’ advantage steadily.
At the halfway mark, the gap between the breakaway and the rest of the field had fallen to around four minutes, and consequently, a group of four riders attacked to try and bridge the gap to Van Hooydonck, Wyss and their fellow leaders.
It wasn’t until the start of the fourth of six laps of a 14.7-kilometer circuit, which included the Col de la Croix Jubara, that the main bunch, which had caught the chasers, was able to pull the breakaway back to within two minutes but, the five remaining leaders, including Van Hooydonck and Wyss, didn’t give up without a fight.
With the breakaway still digging deep, the chase intensified further with the gap falling to inside 30 seconds approaching the 20-kilometer to go mark and as a result, a strong six-rider group, which included Drucker, jumped off the front of the reduced main bunch, to make contact with the riders from the original breakaway.
As the bell rang to mark the start of the final lap, the front group, which now included three BMC Racing Team riders, was hovering 20 seconds up the road before, on the last time up the climb, the race exploded with Drucker drawn out at the front of the race as part of a six-rider leading group.
In the end, a strong chase from behind saw the group swell, but Drucker didn’t crack under the pressure that was being piled on in the closing kilometers of the race. Instead, he was able to show his strength and determination to follow the attacks from his rivals before ultimately, with the final move caught on the finishing straight, the day’s honors came down to a reduced sprint for the line.
Drucker was well-positioned when the sprint was launched and was powering to the line before being blocked slightly in the closing meters. However, he was able to maintain his speed to take a close second place behind Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo).
Van Hooydonck also stepped onto the podium after a hard days work after winning the King of the Mountain Classification.
The wet and slippery weather conditions caused a number of crashes with Loïc Vliegen involved in one that saw him stop racing after suffering some contusions and abrasions. A decision will be made in the morning about whether he joins the rest of his teammates on the start line of Grand Prix d’Isbergues tomorrow afternoon.
Quotes From the Finish Line:
"As a team, it was was good to have Danilo and Nathan in the breakaway. In the morning meeting, we said that it would be good to have a guy in the breakaway and we ended up having two, so it was even better. Especially with the weather conditions today as you never know what can happen on days like today."
"We didn't have to chase or do anything behind them until around two laps to go when we saw that big attack which I was able to follow. We then caught the breakaway, and from there, it was full gas to finish line."
"I knew I was one of the fastest in a sprint, so I had to gamble a little bit. I tried only to follow when it was necessary for example going onto the last lap and on the climb. Then, in the end, I only moved when I had to, and I think I managed it well. I was simply beaten by somebody who was fastest."
"Mads closes the door a little bit for me, but I was still in an okay position. Of course, second is a good result but for sure, I am disappointed as I was so close to the win. I think that's normal though when you are that close to the top step of the podium."
"I showed today that my condition is good and there are still some races to come so hopefully I can get a good result at one of those. Tomorrow is one of those opportunities and for sure today is a good confidence boost. We will see what happens as we have a strong team but we are also expecting bad weather like today."
Sports Director, Valerio Piva:
“In the morning, we discussed that we wanted to have riders in the breakaway. We knew we didn’t have one of the favorite sprinters in the team so, we knew we needed to try to race aggressively. It was wet and windy from the start, and the guys rode well with Nathan and Danilo able to get into the day’s breakaway which at one point had a lead of around eight minutes.”
“There were some crashes behind due to the weather conditions, and it was unfortunate that Loïc was involved in one and had to stop racing. We will see in the morning if he can race.”
“In the final, it was a perfect situation for us because a lot of teams were initially working, but we still had two riders out in front, and Jempy was ready to move as we were positive that riders like Naesen and Stuyven would try something. He was able to follow the attacks, and he was really strong. In the end, one rider was stronger than him to win the sprint but I am pleased with Jempy’s performance, and the effort from Danilo and Nathan too. The three guys rode a perfect race, and we can be happy with our result.”
“Tomorrow is another style of race, and it is not as hilly as today, but with similar weather expected, it will be hard however after today, I think we can expect another strong performance from our riders.”
Tour de l’Eurometropole
One-day race: La Louvière > Tournai, 206km
Top 3: 1. Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) 2. Jempy Drucker (BMC Racing Team) 3. Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 2. Jempy Drucker 27. Tom Bohli 69. Nathan Van Hooydonck