Yesterday our talents lined-up for Omloop van de Braakman, which featured the last round of the Top Competitie. The rain and strong wind made it a tough one for the bunch, plus the addition of long cobbles sections previewed a hard day on the bike. The race went off to a fast start with many riders trying to break clear, but our riders were close to the head of the peloton at all times. A group of 4 riders went up the road first, but quickly a chasing group of around 14 riders followed which forced the peloton to pick up the pace.
Such a speed pick up caused the front of the peloton to break in two. Our colors were well-represented there, with five Academy jerseys there. Sadly our Milan Paulus had a mechanical problem at a crucial time and lost the first group. A few kilometers later the two big front groups merged, which was the eventual winning group. In the final bunch sprint our Jesper Rasch took fifth on the line, which powered him atop of the Best Young Rider Classification and third overall in the Top Competitie.
Jesper Rasch, fifth in the day and Best Young Rider of the 2020 Top Competitie:
“The pace was very high from the start. The rain and wind in combination with cobblestones and gravel made it chaotic and it was war towards the first strokes. As a team we were attentive and we were in the right positions at the front of the peloton. There were all smaller groups, the first two of which later came together and competed for victory to the end. Towards the end it was a major elimination race and it became very tough due to all the circumstances. in the final we were one of the few still with the entire team in the first group, so that was a very good team performance. Of course, the main goal was winning this race. In the final, we were there to win this race, but in the final sprint there were four guys stronger. That’s an easy conclusion, because in this race only the strongest riders will survive and can go for the win. To come into this situation, our first goal was to be in the front at the important points. To ride as a team in the front we were able to achieve this goal. So we created a nice situation in the end, especially because Daan was in the final in a small leading group. First of all, after the race I was very disappointed that I couldn’t finish it off. To win this classification is a nice reward of the hard work I did this season. In the next days, I will have a better feeling about this win because now, i first have to see the positive progress of this race”