With two cards to play in the event of a bunch sprint to the line, Sajnok and Jakub Mareczko, CCC Team was controlling the pace at the front of the bunch going under the flamme rouge and it was this teamwork that helped set Sajnok up to battle for the win.
Earlier in the day, the orange and black train was sitting firmly in the peloton as a six-rider breakaway opened up an advantage of more than seven minutes in the opening 50 kilometers, of the 199.5-kilometer course.
As is often the case at Belgian semi-Classic races, like Bredene Koksijde Classic, most of the action came heading into the second half of the day, when the peloton finally started to pull back the early leaders.
After going over the top of the iconic Kemmelberg, the race’s most difficult climb which had a gradient of over 20 percent in places, the leaders’ advantage was down to three minutes and shortly after, the bunch split under the pressure of the chase.
However, the peloton did come back together approaching the 70-kilometer to go mark but, with the pace continuing to pick up, the gap fell to inside one minute on the first of three 12.6-kilometer long local laps.
The peloton was just behind the remaining leaders as the bell rang and it was as the final rider was caught, inside nine kilometers to go, that CCC Team moved up to the front to help keep both Sajnok and Mareczko safe heading into what would be a fast and furious finale.
In the end, it was Sajnok who had the best position on the final left-hand corner that led onto the finishing straight and as he launched his sprint he showed his improving shape and speed by crossing the line fourth behind the winner, Pascal Ackermann (BORA – hansgrohe).
Mareczko was able to move up through the field after started to his sprint a little further back before finishing just outside the top ten, in 12th place.
Quotes From the Finish Line
“Overall, I am happy with my result today but at the same time, I am a little bit disappointed to just miss out on a spot on the podium. The work that the team did throughout the whole race, and especially in the last ten kilometers, was amazing. That I think is definitely the thing that makes me the happiest at the end of the day and also something that fills me with confidence and hope for the upcoming races.”
Steve Bauer, Sports Director:
“We wanted to do a lead-out for the sprint and so, we thought our best opportunity was to try to take control in the final kilometers of the race. The ideal scenario was that Szymon would lead Jakub into the final 400 meters of the race.”
“Taking the front of the race is all about timing so, we started early with Łukasz Owsian and Josef Černý going up to the front as soon as the breakaway was pulled back. The guys did a great job there. It was definitely a battle but I think we worked well together.”
“In the end, Szymon was the one who did the sprint for us as Jakub lost his wheel going into that final corner. Szymon did his best though and it was a nice result I think. We have made progress and the guys were riding strong at all three races. I think we’ve taken our chances at each one and we will learn and grow from here.”
Bredene Koksijde Classic
One-day race: Bredene > Koksijde (199.5km)
Top 3: 1. Pascal Ackermann (BORA – hansgrohe) 2. Kristoffer Halvorsen (Team Sky) 3. Álvaro Hodeg (Deceuninck – Quick-Step)
CCC Team Top 3: 4. Szymon Sajnok 12. Jakub Mareczko 52. Jonas Koch