Welten Makes it Three in a Row for BMC Development Team in Belgium5. March 2017, Zepperen (BEL) — Development Team
Bram Welten demonstrated both his speed and determination today as he took BMC Development Team's third consecutive victory in Belgium with a final sprint for the line following a day in the breakaway at Brussel - Zepperen.
Heavy rain and strong crosswinds saw the peloton strung out early into the 152.5km race. Once again, BMC Development Team had strength in numbers at the front of the race with Nathan Van Hooydonck, Pavel Sivakov, Mario Spengler and Welten all able to position themselves into the leading group of 21 riders.
As the race continued, the breakaway riders were able to find their rhythm and settled into a lead of over two minutes.
However, the pace of the group started to take its toll, and a burst of acceleration saw a group of four riders, including Bram Welten and Mario Spengler, go clear heading onto the five final local laps.
This would ultimately prove to be the winning move with the group approaching the finish line together before an explosive sprint for the line saw Welten take victory with Spengler fourth.
BMC Development Team had consistent performances across the board with four riders finishing in the top ten.
Winner's Interview with Bram Welten
Congratulations Bram, how are you feeling after your first victory of the season?
“I feel great! I was third at Ingelmunster, and then I finished in the top ten last weekend so, I have shown I am in good shape but to get the victory today is proof that all my hard work over the off-season has been worth it. It's a great start to the season!"
How big a part did the weather play today?
“Today was a really cold day with a lot of rain and high winds so, that definitely made the race conditions hard. However looking back it was also an advantage for us. After 20km Nathan Van Hooydonck and Pavel Sivakov attacked and built up an advantage of 40 seconds and I was waiting in the pack behind them. So when we hit the first cobbled section and the crosswinds hit, the peloton had already been working really hard to close the gap. This meant that the race split up quickly and we were able to position four riders in the front group."
Talk us through the final sprint.
"Mario Spengler played a crucial role in my victory and the final sprint today. He did a great job keeping the speed high and chasing down any attacks from the final group of four. But, in the end, it came down to me to finish it off. It was a bit of an uphill finish, so I knew I didn't need to go too early, so I let Milan Menten (Lotto-Soudal U23) make the first move and then I started my sprint. I am really happy with my speed at the moment, and this win has definitely given me confidence for the rest of the season."
Sports Director, Klaas Lodewyck:
“Today was another successful day for the team. We wanted to make the race hard and we were able to do that plus with four riders in the leading group, we had multiple cards to play heading towards the closing kilometers of the race. On the final, five local laps, Bram Welten and Mario Spengler were part of the leading group of 4 riders and Mario played a key role in today’s race. He was the perfect teammate and controlled the last lap perfectly before handing the baton to Bram to finish it off. I am happy with the whole team’s performance, and I couldn't ask for anything more.”
Brussel - Zepperen
One day race / 152.5km
Top 3: 1. Bram Welten (BMC Development Team) 2. Milan Menten (Lotto-Soudal U23) 3. Franklin Six (Ago Aqua-Service)
BMC Development Team Top 4: 1. Bram Welten 4. Mario Spengler 6. Nathan Van Hooydonck 10. Pavel Sivakov