The first time trial of the season for Development Team Sunweb proved to be a fruitful affair for the young riders, with Niklas Märkl winning the opening stage ahead of teammate Marius Mayrhofer at the Istrian Spring Trophy.
It was a short course of only 2 kilometres for the prologue of this year’s race in the coastal city of Umag, where Märkl’s time of two minutes seven seconds was enough to hold onto first place, even with fellow Development program rider Mayrhofer finishing less than a second slower. Teammate Leon Heinschke rounded out a very strong team performance taking fifth on the day.
Team Sunweb coach, Sebastian Deckert stated afterwards: “It is a really nice start to the stage race after the win of Nils [Eekhoff] in the prologue here last year, so we knew what to expect and how to win. We had good focus on preparation with all the guys, which you can see with the overall result of the team, as well as finishing 1st and 2nd – it is a really strong start to the race. Tomorrow and the day after we will have completely different stages, and the time gaps on the general classification are really small. It’s a prologue and it’s nice that we won, but the next days will be different in the mountains.”
Attention now turns to tomorrow’s stage, where we will see the riders tackle a 161 kilometre route from Porec to Labin.