Race report

Niklas Märkl sprints to 3rd place at Umag Trophy after great team performance

Umag Trophy

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.

“It was a really good race from all of us today,” explained Märkl at the finish. “Ludvig went into the early break and they were able to stay away until roughly ten kilometres to the finish. The rest of the guys of protected me in the bunch during the race and we were always in a good spot and could save energy. Towards the final, the guys did a really strong job and brought me into a perfect position for the sprint. I finished in third place and I think we can all be satisfied with this result and performance today. We’ll keep working like this and hopefully get more good results soon.”

Team Sunweb coach Bennie Lambregts added: “Everything went almost to plan today. We wanted to get a guy in the break and Ludvig got in there for us and they could stay away late into the stage. We also wanted to stay together in the bunch behind so we could communicate with each other well and the guys did that very well too. The lead out from the guys was good and Niklas was near the front coming out of the last corner. Hannes led him out until 200 metres to go and Niklas managed to sprint to third place at the finish. I think the team did a really good job today; I’m proud of them and they can be proud of their performance.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 KOOIJ Olav Jumbo-Visma Development Team 3:33:32 40
2 KUMP Marko Adria Mobil ,, 30
3 MÄRKL Niklas Development Team Sunweb ,, 25