Frederik Backaert, Yoann Offredo and Dion Smith finished in the chasing group sprinting for 4th place in Omloop het Nieuwsblad (1.WT). 10 riders formed an early breakaway in the Belgian opening classic. Just before the second time on Haaghoek Pieter Vanspeybrouck came down in a crash, fortunately without bad consequences. On Molenberg the peloton was reduced. Frederik Backaert, Dion Smith and Yoann Offredo were able to take their place in the first group in cold and sunny circumstances.
The Muur van Geraardsbergen was a decisive point in the race. At the new finish in Meerbeke our three rider were part of the chasing group sprinting for 4th spot. Offredo finished 28th, Backaert 33rd and Smith 43th. On Sunday our classics team heads to Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne (1.HC).
Hilaire Van der Schueren:
"The positive thing about today is that with Offredo, Smith and Backaert, three good riders, we finish in the first chasing group. Even though we might have had to play more Dion Smith's card in the final. But I am not really happy with the team performance in general. Miracles do not exist in the race and we need to improve with an eye on the upcoming races. "
"As expected a big group stayed together because of the head wind. Accelerating on Valkenberg, Berendries or Tenboss was useless. The race was decided on de Muur and we missed one riders to position ourselves in the first part of the group. The legs were good and that is promising. But you don't buy anything with it."
"My first Omloop was a crazy experience. Every cobbled classic I get to know these roads more and more. I was actually OK with the cold, I almost even got too hot!"
"In the final it was pretty much all about positioning before de Muur. I was maybe a bit too far at the foot, but pretty all right for the circumstances. I could have done a lot better in the sprint, but the line and chaos made it very bad."
"I think this gives good confidence for the future. I do enjoy the cobbles and these races are also a good preparation for the Ardennes."
Results Omloop het Nieuwsblad
1. Michael Valgren
2. Lukasz Wisniowski
3. Sep Vanmarcke
28. Yoann Offredo
33. Frederik Backaert
43. Dion Smith
DNF Guillaume Van Keirsbulck
DNF Pieter Vanspeybrouck
DNF Tom Devriendt
DNF Wesley Kreder