GP Pino Cerami: Drucker Sprints to Second in Belgium19. July 2017, Frameries (BEL) — Road Team
Jempy Drucker returned to racing at GP Pino Cerami today and showed that he is ready to tackle the final part of the season as he rode out in front for almost 130km before taking second after a final sprint to the line.
It was a battle to get into the day’s early breakaway with a flurry of attacks being pulled back by the peloton before three riders were given the freedom to build up an advantage.
After around 25km, of the 199.6km course, the trio was sitting 2’45” ahead of the main bunch as one other rider bridged across to join their ranks at the front of the race.
The gap continued to rise before an injection of pace on the approach to the Muur van Geraardsbergen saw the peloton spread out across the road and the early leaders brought to within one minute as they went over the summit of the iconic climb.
With the race hitting the reset button with 127km to go, Drucker was part of the first attack off the front of the bunch before being joined by four other riders.
As the lead group reached the halfway point of the day, their advantage was touching four minutes, and it continued to rise with every passing kilometer before peaking at 5’12” inside 80km to go.
As Drucker and the rest of the breakaway went over the line to begin the first of three finishing circuits around Frameries, the peloton had brought their lead down to around three minutes.
The gap continued to fall, but the leaders were able to hold on to an advantage of over one minute as the bell rang to mark the start of the final 13.8km lap. Despite several attacks heading into the final kilometer of the day, the group remained together, and eventually, victory came down to a head to head sprint on the final kick up to the line with Wout Van Aert (Verandas Willems) taking the day’s honors ahead of Drucker and Dries Devenyns (Quick-Step Floors).
BMC Racing Team also saw strong finishes from Dylan Teuns and Loïc Vliegen with the pair finishing at the front of the main bunch behind to secure eighth and tenth place respectively.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“I can definitely feel it in my legs after today’s race. It was my first race back after a short break, and my condition is not 100%, but we had a good day out there and I gave it my best shot. We were out in front for almost 130km, and we stayed in front which was good. I tried to win but I think at the end, everybody was on their knees. Wout Van Aert (Verandas Willems) has already won a few races this season, so it is not such a shame to lose against him.”
“We went pretty fast up the Muur van Geraardsbergen. At first, there were around 20 guys in front then, someone attacked. I was able to follow and soon it was just the four of us out in front. It was a pretty strong group so, in the end, we were able to take a lot of time out of the bunch. There was a lot of headwind on the way into the finish, and that made it really difficult for everybody, but we made it. Of course, I am a bit disappointed not to win but I can definitely build on that performance, and there is still a lot of racing to go this season.”
Sports Director, Klaas Lodewyck:
“It was a smart move from Jempy Drucker to go with the attack over the top of the Muur. We said from the beginning that if we weren’t involved in the breakaway, we wanted to keep the pace high on the climbs as we knew that from KM 45 to KM 65 there was a lot of climbing. The guys did what they had to do, and they really made the race hard. For a moment we had five riders in a group of 25, and then the moves started again before the group with Jempy established itself at the front of the race.”
“They quickly built up an advantage so there was no way back for them and they had to give it everything. Their advantage went out to more than five minutes, and then at the end, we saw that the peloton wasn’t able to come back. We did everything to try and set Jempy up for the win, but I think he had put in so much work as part of the breakaway that he was just beaten to the line. After working all day, this is still a good result, and I think we can be happy with what we did as a team. For Jempy, I think this is a good sign for the rest of the season. If you can ride out in front for almost 130km with the peloton chasing behind, then it means you have been working well and that your form is good.”
GP Pino Cerami
One day race: Saint-Ghislain > Frameries, 199.6km
Top 3: 1. Wout Van Aert (Verandas Willems) 2. Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC Racing Team) 3. Dries Devenyns (Quick-Step Floors)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 2. Jempy Drucker 8. Dylan Teuns 10 Loïc Vleigen