Race report

Team Sunweb on the attack at Flèche Ardennaise

Flèche Ardennaise

Awaiting the riders at Flèche Ardennaise today would be a tough route of 179 kilometres that featured several climbs on a bigger loop, before a constantly undulating finish circuit. From the gun the racing was on and the Development program were ever present in any attacks, with Nils Sinschek making an early escape that got a gap of around 15 seconds. It would be brought back though and the the attacking nature of the race would continue for a staggering 90 kilometres before an eventual break would form, which featured Tim Naberman.

That group of five would continue on at the head of the race, working well together and building up an advantage of almost two minutes. A large counter attack formed out of the peloton and would make its way across to the five ahead, meaning there was a group of 18 up the road. With most teams represented they quickly built up an advantage and it would prove to be the decisive move of the day. Eventual race winner Pellaud attacked on one of the many climbs and splintered the group, with Naberman dropping back after having expended a lot of energy earlier.

Team Sunweb worked hard in the bunch to try and set things up for Marius Mayrhofer, but the riders out front would be too far ahead. Mayrhofer would be the first rider home for the team, finishing within the peloton.

“Today was a hard race, with a lot of climbing,” explained Mayrhofer at the end of the stage. “The team did a good job all day and I could stay protected in the peloton until the local laps. In the sprint Felix brought me into a good position but unfortunately I got cramps so couldn’t go for a strong result in the end. I’m happy with the way we rode as a team all day.”

Speaking about his time in the break Naberman added: “It was a good team performance today and after us following all the important breaks, I managed to get in what was the decisive move of the race. When the strong group joined us from behind the racing was full gas and after a small shifting error, I couldn’t keep up with the pace on the many climbs. At the end we worked hard to set up Felix and Marius but we just missed a top result after what was a good race from all of us.” 

Team Sunweb coach Albert Timmer continued: “The beginning for us was really good and we covered the majority of the attacks with Tim, Ben and Nils. We just missed out on one of the climbs when the other group jumped out of the peloton so tried to set things up for a sprint with Marius. He was well positioned by Felix and was in third position in the bunch coming into the final 100 metres but unfortunately cramped up, so missed out on a top ten result. Overall it was a good performance from the team today.”