Race report

Bad luck and tough day of racing through the dust at Antwerp Port Epic

Antwerp Port Epic

Development Team Sunweb were back in action today over the cobbles and gravel sections at Antwerp Port Epic. An incredibly tough parcours, it became a race of attrition almost from the gun with an incredibly high pace in the peloton. No breakaway was allowed to escape until after 40 kilometres where Niklas Märkl and Tim Naberman rode strongly to make it into a group of 11 riders.

Yet, their advantage was never allowed to exceed one minute and with 80 kilometres to go they were brought back. This led to more attacks, with small groups going clear before being caught for the next hour of racing. Casper van Uden and Jarno Mobach, the latter who fought back from a crash on one of the earlier mud sections, joined Märkl within the main peloton. After the guys were attentive at the front, Van Uden made it into the split of roughly 20 riders that went clear.

Unfortunately, van Uden had a mechanical at one of the important gravel sections and dropped out of the lead group. With the race decided ahead of them, Mobach was the first rider home for the team, finishing in the same group as Märkl.

Speaking after the race Mobach said: “It was a really tough race, with the back door of the peloton open the whole day, with guys just always dropping from the group. I think we rode well as a team but we were just a bit unlucky today. For me personally, it was a pity I crashed in the beginning as that cost me a lot of energy when chasing back but my shape was really good during the race so it was a shame we couldn’t get a better result.”

Team Sunweb coach Roy Curvers added: “The plan in the beginning was to be present in the big groups that can go into the final for a result. We had everything under control in the beginning and after 30 kilometres a group of 11 guys with Niklas and Tim went away and formed the early break. When they were caught by a group of 40 guys with 50 kilometres to go we still had Casper there. Jarno who crashed early in the race fought back strongly and he also managed to come back into that group. When the final split happened only Casper had enough energy to be there, but unfortunately he punctured at a really bad moment and was not able to come back anymore. All together I think we can be happy with the experience gained and shape shown, but unfortunately we missed a bit of luck to also come home with a nice result.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 VERMEERSCH Gianni Alpecin-Fenix 4:13:46 125
2 DEWULF Stan Lotto Soudal ,, 85
3 PLANCKAERT Baptiste Bingoal - Wallonie Bruxelles ,, 70