Development Team Sunweb were back in action today at Umag Trophy, the first of three Croatian races that the team will be competing at. Taking place on a large circuit featuring one climb, the race normally ends in a bunch sprint finish but previous winners have came from reduced bunches or late attacks.
From the flag drop it was a fast start to the race, with the team very attentive at the front of the bunch, animating the race and looking to get into any dangerous breakaway. After 20 kilometres of racing Ludvig Anton Wacker was able to escape the bunch along with one other rider, and they established a lead of 45 seconds over the peloton. Yet, the attacks continued behind and another three riders made the bridge to the duo, with the five riders holding an advantage of 2 minutes and 45 seconds as the race entered the final 85 kilometres.
The peloton kept the breakaway on a tight leash and slowly decreased the gap throughout the remainder of the day and with 35 kilometres to go, the break were only one minute ahead. Despite the spirited efforts from Anton Wacker and his breakaway companions, they were caught in the closing kilometres and the race headed towards a bunch sprint finish.
The team worked well to protect and set up sprinter Niklas Märkl for the finale, positioning him near the front of the bunch coming around the last corner. Märkl followed the wheel of debutant Hannes Wilksch until around 200 metres to go, before launching his sprint, and crossing the line for a strong third place finish.
|1||KOOIJ Olav||Jumbo-Visma Development Team||3:33:32||40|
|2||KUMP Marko||Adria Mobil||,,||30|
|3||MÄRKL Niklas||Development Team Sunweb||,,||25|