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Antwerp Port Epic: Bernas in the break, Gradek 13th

Paweł Bernas made the day’s main breakaway and Kamil Gradek finished inside top 15 in unusual Belgian race, Antwerp Port Epic (1.1).  

Info: September 2nd,  Antwerp – Antwerp, 206km

Course: unpaved, cobbled, dirt roads

What made racing so one of the kind was the cyclo cross-like course, with dirt, unpaved and grass sections and the addition of cobbles. Start and finish venue were located at the port in Antwerp, making it even more unique.

Paweł Bernas approached this race with very aggressive mindset and made the day’s main breakaway. It consisted of 4 riders and at some point they had 4 minutes in hand.

Bernas was pushing hard in the front, despite one unfortunate situation, when he was misled in one of the crossings and had to make up few seconds, he had lost there. Eventually he got caught with 33km remaining by first part of the peloton, that had been created after a split on cobbles and included 11 riders. They were much fresher than Pole, who had spent nearly 150km up the road and returned to the 2nd bunch, to help Kamil Gradek.

Other CCC Sprandi Polkowice riders didn’t experience too much luck, as for example Adrian Kurek had as many as 4 mechanicals and Michał Paluta crashed painfully. On such unusual course, basically every member of Polkowice-based squad was affected by some sort of incident.

The decisive move was made quite early, when Guillaume Van Keirsbulck took off together with Jan-Willem van Schip from Bernas’s group, with 55km to go. The latter crashed inside final 15km leaving the door open for Van Keirsbulck. Belgian took advantage of that opportunity and claim the solo win. Aksel Nommela was 2nd and Taco van der Hoorn was 3rd. Kamil Gradek was team’s top finisher, coming in in 13th  place.