Again Alan Banaszek was one of the fastest in the Belgian one-day event, this time taking 10th in Handzame Classic. Patryk Stosz and Jonas Koch made the “orange colors” even easier to notice, riding in the breakaways.
Info: March 17th, Bredene – Kortemark, 197,1km
Course: Mostly flat, multiply short punchy, cobblestone hills
The breakaway with Patryk Stosz broke clear soon after the start. He was one of the 10 riders who managed to pull away – Conor Dunne (Aqua Blue), Max Kanter (Sunweb Development), Maxime Farazijn (Sport Vlaanderen-Beloise), Taco van der Hoorn (Roompot), Timothy Stevens (Pauwels Sauzen), Jason Lowndes (Isreal Academy), Rob Ruijgh (Tartelleto-Isorex), Giacomo Berlato (Nippo Vini Fantini). They had to collaborate well to not get caught early by the peloton, which was going very fast at the cross winds. Eventually the bunch split in those difficult conditions and the best positioned riders caught the escape, making a new, 32-man leading group.
After a fierce chase the groups merged and the race started all over. With around 70km to go Jonas Koch decided to attack and was followed by Timothy Stevens.
The duo was later joined by 4 other riders Iljo Keisse (Quick-Step Floors), Lukas Postlberger (Bora – Hansgrohe), Alex Kirsch (WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect) and Mads Schmidt (Team Katusha – Alpecin), gaining almost a minute on the field.
The chasing bunch held Koch’s escape on a 40-50s leash, before catching them with 35km to go. From that point no one was able to open up a bigger gap and it all came down to a bunch sprint.
CCC Sprandi Polkowice riders were very active in the final part of the race, fighting for good position for their sprinter, Alan Banaszek. They were well represented in the main group and were often seen at the head of the pack. Good team effort resulted in 10th place for Alan Banaszek. 19-year old rider recorded his second top 10 performance this week in Belgium after 9th in Nokere Koerse.
Kristoffer Halvorsen (Team Joker Icopal) powered to victory, besting Adam Blythe (Aqua Blue) and Kenny Dehaes (Wanty – Groupe Gobert).