Roelandts Sprints to Third in BMC Racing Team Debut31. January 2018, Peniscola (ESP) — Road Team
Jürgen Roelandts impressed in his race debut with BMC Racing Team by sprinting to third place on stage 1 of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, which marked the beginning of BMC Racing Team’s European season.
After multiple attacks in the first 10km, of the 191.5km stage, four riders opened up a maximum advantage of 4’50” on the peloton, where all seven BMC Racing Team riders remained.
With a predicted sprint finish on the cards, the peloton stayed in control of the situation and allowed the breakaway to maintain an advantage of four minutes for the following 80km.
The only climb of the day, the category 2 Bandereta, featured after 86km of racing and had little influence on the race situation with the peloton slightly eating into the breakaway’s advantage on the climb.
With 60km to go, the peloton was within two minutes of the leading four and after the sprinters’ teams committed to bringing the race back together, the catch was made with 18km remaining.
The sprinters’ teams jostled for position in the final 10km and with 5km to go, Roelandts and his BMC Racing Team teammates began to move up to the front of the bunch.
Despite a late attack from Gianni Moscon (Team Sky), the bunch came back together 3km before the finish line and the stage was set for a bunch sprint.
As eventual winner Danny van Poppel (LottoNL Jumbo) launched his sprint, Roelandts was directly on his wheel and managed to hold on for third place on the line.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“I was good feeling pretty good today. It was good to start off with a good result. I was a bit in doubt after my injury last year and my operation on August 1st which was six months ago. After six months out of competition, it’s nice to be back in the game. I think I still have the skills to do a sprint. I didn’t have the kick yet because I was a bit surprised when Van Poppel went so early today. I was straight away two meters back but I stayed on two meters until the finish line. In the beginning I wasn’t feeling so good but that’s normal after two rest days. Having been a professional for ten years, I know how my body reacts and I knew it would get better. It wasn’t the hardest stage today so I’m looking forward to tomorrow and seeing how my condition is. Of course, it’s good for the morale to have a good result in the first race with a new team. It means that I worked hard and the team worked hard in the off season.”
“I feel really good in the new team. I had a nice ten years with Lotto Soudal but it’s nice to have a change. It was quite funny today in the peloton because after ten years with one team, a lot of riders didn’t recognize me in the new kit. I had to start talking to them and then they were surprised to see me in BMC Racing Team kit. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the races.”
Greg Van Avermaet:
“It was a pretty good day. It was nice weather, pretty relaxed, and I was happy with how the race went. It was pretty hectic in the final but I’m happy that none of us crashed and Jürgen was able to do a nice third place.”
“I’ve been looking at the parcours from tomorrow and it looks pretty hard. I don’t the course or the climbs very well but I think it’s a good test to see how my condition is and how far I can come. It’s hard to say as the last climb looks pretty hard so I don’t know how my body will react or how the race will go. But, I’ll try to do my best and go as far as possible.”
Volta a la Communitat Valenciana
Stage 1 Oropesa > Pensicola (191.5km)
Top 3: 1. Danny van Poppel (LottoNL Jumbo), 2. Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-Scott), 3. Jürgen Roelandts (BMC Racing Team).
BMC Racing Team top 3: 3. Jürgen Roelandts, 38. Brent Bookwalter, 43. Greg Van Avermaet