German sprinter Max Walscheid powered to 5th position at the Omloop van het Houtland Lichtervelde. With a trio ahead, Max was the second fastest in the bunch sprint for the line.
The route on paper looked relatively simple, with very flat roads taking in 195 kilometres around West Flanders. However, as is often the case in this area, strong winds created difficulty and after 70 kilometres the peloton split. After completing a lap of the large loop, the race entered the finishing circuit with 12 laps of 10 kilometres to come. A trio of riders managed to jump clear of the peloton with 30 kilometres remaining, and they were able to maintain a small gap until the finish. As the remaining peloton approached the finish, Team Sunweb set up the sprint for Max who held off some big names to take 5th.
After the race, Team Sunweb coach Tom Veelers said: “From the start on there was some wind – a bit more than we expected, and due to the quality of the bunch there was a very quickly a strong break after already 60km. We had 38 riders in the front with all of us there except for Phil (Bauhaus) who stopped after about 50km as he was wasn’t feeling healthy.
“We continued pushing and on the local lap with about 70km to go the second group came back so there were about 100 guys in front. From here there was a lot of attacking. We kept control for a really long time but in the end we couldn’t keep it up. Three guys jumped away and it was only really coming from us, and we didn’t have enough at the end. We wanted the win today but it wasn’t to be.”