Koch on the Attack at Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen
Jonas Koch flew the CCC Team flag in the breakaway at Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen as part of a three-rider move that went clear in the opening kilometers of the race, before crossing the line in the first group behind winner Jannick Steimle (Deceuninck – Quick Step).
The leading trio established an advantage of more than six minutes in the first half of the 185-kilometer race, which consisted of 17 laps of a 11-kilometer circuit, but with the sprinters’ teams interested in seeing a bunch sprint in Koolskamp, the peloton picked up the pace with 100 kilometers to go.
A big injection of pace and strong winds saw echelons form with five laps to go, by which stage the first chase group had come within 40 seconds of Koch’s breakaway before eventually making the catch with 25-kilometers to go.
Despite his efforts in the breakaway, Koch slotted into the front group of 30 or so riders and together they passed the finish line to hear the bell indicating one lap to go.
Steimle launched what would be the winning move inside the final 10 kilometers and managed to hold off the chase to take the win while four seconds behind, Koch crossed the line in the first big group as CCC Team’s first rider of the day.
Quote from the Finish Line
“I recovered really well after the Vuelta and I felt quite recovered today before the race so, it was nice to get back into the race rhythm before the World Championships. We wanted to have someone in the breakaway and it was a little bit hectic in the beginning but I was on the right wheel and the guy in front of me was attacking so I followed him and then we were there with the three of us. The peloton let us go to up to seven minutes and I felt really good on the road but with the wind and the flat parcours, it was hard to defend our gap. They started to race behind and we didn’t have a chance to stay away.”
“I felt a little bit tired when they caught us but I could follow a few new moves. But then I said to myself that I would wait because I was alone and it’s hard to go against so many guys from Deceuninck – Quick Step. But, in the sprint, I felt that I didn’t really have the legs anymore for a good sprint. It gives me confidence and my goal was to push myself hard today, especially thinking about getting ready for the Worlds. So, it was a good day.”
Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen
Koolskamp > Koolskamp (185km)
Top 3: 1. Jannik Steimle (Deceuninck – Quick Step), 2. Timo Roosen (Team Jumbo Visma), 3. Dylan Groenewegen (Team Jumbo Visma)
CCC Team top 3: 18. Jonas Koch, 36. Jakub Mareczko, 44. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck
CCC Team Duo in Top Ten on Stage 3 of Tour de Slovaquie
Both Kamil Gradek and Gijs Van Hoecke finished in the top ten on stage three of the Tour de Slovaquie which featured an uphill sprint and a tricky finale. The Polish rider managed to retain a top-five spot in the General Classification before the final day of racing.
There were three category two climbs on the menu of the 200.6-kilometer stage with the final summit located only seven kilometers from the finish. With such undulating terrain, many teams wanted to get in the breakaway, including CCC Team and eventually the peloton let three riders go who were able to gain nearly three minutes on the bunch.
CCC Team’s riders were riding safely in the bunch, protecting their leaders – Gradek, who had been sitting in third place overall and Van Hoecke, who started the day eighth overall.
The breakaway was reeled in with 18 kilometers to go and as the peloton approached the last categorized climb of the day, the group started to split in the wind and 60 riders crested the summit, with four CCC Team riders – Gradek, Van Hoecke, Łukasz Owsian, and stagiaire, George Zimmermann.
The stage ended with an uphill sprint which was won by Arnauld Demare (Groupama – FDJ), with Van Hoecke finishing in ninth and Gradek in tenth place. They both kept their top ten spots in the overall standings with the Polish rider sitting in fourth and the Belgian in eighth.
Quote from the Finish Line:
Gijs Van Hoecke
“It was again a nice day of racing with the team. We were sitting in the front the entire day and in the finale, it got a little bit hectic with some echelons but, we did a good job as there were four of us in the first group. In the end, before the uphill sprint, everything came back together and I tried to attack with 500m to go but, it turned out to be a little bit too early. Me and Kamil finished next to each other in the top ten but unfortunately, Demare passed Kamil in the GC and knocked him off the overall podium.”
Tour de Slovaquie
Stage 3: Bardejov > Ružomberok (226,6km)
Top 3: 1. Arnaud Démare (Groupama – FDJ) 2. Alexandr Riabushenko (UAE-Team Emirates) 3. Alexander Kristoff (UAE-Team Emirates)
CCC Team Top 3: 9. Gijs Van Hoecke 10. Kamil Gradek 16. Łukasz Owsian