It was an action-packed weekend that wrapped up yesterday’s double-header in which we were present in Belgium’s 1.1 Gooikse Pijl as well as in the closing stage of the Ronde de l’Isard. In France, the day presented a hard day out that suited a large breakaway, that was why the mission was clear and our riders were present in a lot of the moves that attempted to make it up the road. Our Marco Frigo made it into a 6-man group breakaway before being later joined by Milan Paulus and Harrison Wood up front. Our talents worked well together, leading to a 13th place in the stage for the former U23 Italian RR champion, which added up for a 14th place overall. Sadly, stage winner and first leader of the race, Wessel Krul, was forced to abandon following a crash, but he is in good condition and did not suffer any major injuries, so we expect to have him back on the bike in no time.
Despite the difficulties of the period leading up to the race with crashes and injuries, we can look back to a solid run in Ronde de l’Isard, in which we take home a stage win, which accounts for our fourth in just three years at the same race.
Aike Visbeek, DS for the race and Academy Director recaps on the last stage:
“We wanted to be in the break either for a stage result or to move Marco up the GC. It was really smart from the guys to be with two in the chasing group that joined the initial breakaway where Marco was, so we had three riders in a group of 18. The end result was good, and with Marco’s 14th place on GC he shows that he’s getting better day by day after his problems and illness in the Giro d’Italia U23. Also, it’s important to highlight the fighting spirit and character of the team, that after winning the opening stage we kept on fighting, being active and working hard as a team”.
Meanwhile in Belgium, our team set off with high expectations after two solid performances in the previous editions of that very same race. The race was not off to a good start for our interest’s as Sven Burger and David Dekker abandoned pretty early into the race due to their sustained injuries, so the Academy squad was down to three riders. A group of five riders formed the breakaway of the day. With three laps to go, the potential winning attacks started to take place, and already in the last one a dangerous group of 12 riders got a gap. It was then when Daan Hoole and Maikel Zijlaard took the head of the bunch and pulled hard to reduce the gap, and thanks to the collaboration of other teams the last two riders of the break were caught with just 200m to go. In the sprint our Jordi Meeus crossed the line in a solid fourth place.
Dries Hollanders, Academy DS looks back to a solid team performance:
“The first part of the day was pretty uneventful with the 5-man breakaway going up the road. With the early abandons of David and Sven our plan was to stay put and work for Jordi in the final sprint. Our race started in the last three laps as a lot of attacks took place from the bunch, with small groups trying to get away. Daan Hoole was riding really well close to the head of the bunch and kept the situation controlled for us at all times. The move in the last lap was the most dangerous one, with more 12 guys going clear, and then it was when we decided to take the front of the bunch with Daan and Maikel and pull as hard as possible so the gap would not increase. The remaining 2 leaders were caught with 200m to go, and then in the sprint, Jordi took fourth. Which is a good result, but a bit disappointing because we knew that we could win the race”