Two “riders in orange” sprinted to top 15 places in 1.HC one-day event in Belgium, Danilith – Nokere Koerse. 19-year old Alan Banaszek was the team’s top finisher, taking 9th at the line.
Info: March 15th, Deinze – Nokere, 192,3km
Weather: mostly sunny
Course: Mostly flat, multiply short, punchy, cobblestone hills
The race got off to an extremely fast start and for the first two hours of racing nobody was able to break clear. Finally Gaetan Bille (Vérandas Willems-Crelan), Floris De Tier (Team LottoNL-Jumbo), Ludwig De Winter (WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect), Elmar Reinders (Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij), Hamish Schreurs (Israel Cycling Academy), Kenneth Van Rooy (Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise) and Ole Forfang (Team Joker Icopal) managed to create a bigger gap, near the half way point, on the laps around Nokere.
They established over 2-minute lead, as the peloton had things under control. The pace of the chase picked up with 40km to go and that split the pack. The escape was brought back in with 23km to go. The remaining part was filled with unsuccessful attacks and crashes. Thankfully CCC Sprandi Polkowice riders were not among those who went down.
Despite multiple attempts to break away late in the race, it all came down to a tough, slightly uphill finish. Alan Banaszek and Frantisek Sisr both contested the sprint and took 9th and 11th respectively.
Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) put the hammer down in the finishing straight leaving no doubts who was the fastest on that day. He outsprinted Adam Blythe (Aqua Blue Sport) and Joeri Stallaert (Cibel – Cebon).
The race was chaotic from the very beginning and there was a big crash just after the start. Later on another riders would fall down and I had to often stop to avoid them.
I felt very good throughout the entire race and my teammates gave their all to help me. I’m very grateful for that. I’m not that satisfied with how things unfolded in the end, as I didn’t position myself well for the sprint – Alan Banaszek said afterwards.