Race report

Felix Gall finishes in the bunch at Circuit des Ardennes opener

Circuit des Ardennes

The Development program were back in action today with the opening stage of the Circuit des Ardennes. With a break of only two riders escaping the pack early on, it was clear that the sprinter’s teams had their eyes on winning the stage. The duo built up an advantage of over six minutes but the race was always under control and they were caught with just under 40 kilometres remaining. This caused a flurry of attacks within the peloton as riders looked to use the rolling terrain to cause a surprise. Consequently the peloton was split to bits with riders in groups all over the road.

However, some control was regained at the head of the race and the day was ultimately decided in a reduced bunch sprint. Team Sunweb finished in the peloton, with GC rider Felix Gall the first home in 26th place.

Team Sunweb coach Jelle de Jong talked through the stage: “The day started off really slowly with the two rider breakaway and the peloton took it easy. However, the break was caught with 40 kilometres to go and the peloton sped up over the short but steep climbs. Several riders were dropped, including our sprinter Ludvig Wacker, as the speed on the ramps was just too hard for him. Our GC rider for the race Felix finished safely in the bunch and we will look ahead to the coming days.”

Felix Gall added: “Today was the flattest stage of the race but it could have been made hard because of the small, twisting, hilly roads. However, with only a two-man break the pace was quite slow until they were brought back. The race then started, with a lot of attacks in the bunch but nothing serious managed to form and we were able to cover most of the moves. It all came back together for the sprint and I finished comfortably in the bunch. I am felling good and I am looking forward to the next two days as the harder stages are coming up now.”