Today’s 200 kilometer long and cobbled Belgian semi-classic Scheldeprijs was dominated by a long-lasting breakaway but a bunch sprint was in the cards from the get-go. CULT Energy’s Michael Carbel was in a solid position with 2 kilometers to go but a big crash kept him out of contention and destroyed the finale for CULT Energy.
Laurens De Vreese (Astana), Frederik Backaert (Wanty), Kenneth Van Blisen (Cofidis), Matteo Busato (Southeast), Vincent Jerôme (Europcar), Huub Duyn (Roompot) and Tanner Putt (UnitedHealthCare) formed the initial breakaway in today’s 200 kilometer long semi-classic Scheldeprijs. But in the peloton, the interests in a bunch sprint were stronger than the breakaway riders’ combined power and for a long while it was simply a game of cat and mouse.
Entering the first of three crossings of the finish line with 50 kilometers left, the gap was only 2 minutes and ten kilometers later, CULT Energy Pro Cycling’s Martin Mortensen launched an attack on a cobblestone section trying to bridge across and undoubtedly wanted company. However, no one was as eager to jump as he was and he decided to drop back to the chasing pack animated by Katusha and Tinkoff-Saxo.
With 8.3 kilometers remaining, the gap was shaved down to merely 15 seconds and Sky took over the reins of the pack and immediately brought back the escapees. The CULT Energy riders were sitting in a very comfortable position behind the Katusha train with two kilometers to go but going under the red kite, a massive crash marred the finale and only about 20 riders made it to the finish line. Here, Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) took another superb win.
DS Michael Skelde reports:
“Our plan was to support Michael Carbel throughout the race so he could join in on the expected bunch sprint but Mads Pedersen was given permission to play along as well. Unfortunately, the first riders on the deck crashed right in front of Mads and it was a matter of two or three positions and he would have made it in the first group. Carbel was obstructed by the crash as well but was a little further behind.
"I’m happy about their effort in the finale but of course not about the result. But these kind of things happen in cycling and that’s why it’s crucial to stay as close to the head of the field as possible in these situations. Fortunately, none of our riders are injured other than the usual loss of skin after the close encounter with the asphalt.”
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