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Weekend Round-Up – Week 10

Three days of West Flanders and more

In a weekend with a big race in Flanders, there was also a lot going on outside Belgium. Some riders escaped the cold weather of the northern part of Europe for their training camps, others enjoyed the skills of their kids. Read the weekend round-up and find out what happened with our BBB riders and teams.

Since last week the racing in Flanders has officially started with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. This weekend the riders were attending the start of a three day race in the western region of Flanders. The Driedaagse West-Vlaanderen, or Three days of West Flanders, started on Friday with a prologue at the coastline of Belgium. On Saturday and Sunday there were two stages between the cities of Brugge and Harelbeke and Nieuwpoort and Ichtegem. What started out as a beautiful but cold prologue ended with a truelly horrific day of rain on Sunday.

At the start of this three day race were our World Tour team FDJ and both Pro Continental teams Wanty-Groupe Gobert and Roompot Orange Peloton. The 7 kilometer prologue along the coast of Middelkerke was ridden with an average speed of nearly 54 km/h and won by Tom Bohli of the BMC Racing Team. Berden de Vries of Team Roompot finished on 27 seconds of the winner, on the 30th spot. Not a bad result for the Dutch time trial specialist. Olivier Le Gac of FDJ finished 35 seconds behind the winner on place 54. The rest of the riders hoped to lose as less time as possible and they succeeded in this.

The prologue of Driedaagse West-Vlaanderen took place at the sunny but cold coast of Belgium.

On the second day both Team Roompot and Wanty wanted a rider in the early break away. Roompot didn’t succeed and one of the sportive directors, Michel Cornelisse, wasn’t satisfied with this result. “These are the races where our boys have to show themselves. That didn’t happen, so that’s quite disappointing”, according to the sports director. The boys in blue of Team Wanty had a better day. With an early breakaway in which Frederik Backaert was present, the rider proved to be fully recovered from a little illness. In the end a big group of sprinters were competing for the stage win in which Danilo Napolitano was able to take a top-10 position.

Frederik Backaert has fully recovered and proved his good form by being present in the first breakaway of the day.

The last day it was again a rider of Wanty who took a chance and found himself in the early breakaway of the day. Youngster Mark McNally from the UK proved his young fans of the first day that he is a talent we have to watch in the near future. As one of the few riders he completed this tough stage and finished 51st in the stage and 57th in the GC. In a three day race where only 83 riders of the 167 riders who started, finished the complete three days, this result for a young rider like Marc is pretty astonishing. Berden de Vries of Team Roompot finished as 22nd as the best rider in orange of 4 riders who completed the Driedaagse of West-Vlaanderen. The young Dutch rider now focuses on his home race the coming weekend, the Tour of Drenthe.

Fresh at the team and already a huge fanbase, Mark McNally is giving his autograph to some of his young fans. A true cycling hero.

Final moments on the team bus before the start of #3dwvl

A photo posted by Team Wanty-Groupe Gobert (@teamwantygobert) on

The Wanty riders are preparing themselves in the team bus before the start of the Driedaagse West-Vlaanderen.

 

Training continues

Although most of the attention focuses on the Belgian classics, a lot of riders who are racing in the late spring climbing classics and stage races are still in serious training. They are not competing in the nervous and cold cobble races. They are in much better conditions doing their work outs on the bike. Or aren’t they? At least the Italian couple of Team Wanty, Simone Antonini and Enrico Gasparotto, are in good company during their training rides. ‘Gaspa’ is visited by his wife on his training camp at Tenerife and Simone is accompanied by good training conditions. As long as he’s not training on the Mount Elba at least, which is covered in snow. Sprinter Roy Jans is preparing for his next goals in sunny Spain. He’s back again at Calpe, the region where Wanty already had their training camp as well earlier this season.

Conditions could be worse for ‘Gaspa’ on Tenerife. He enjoys the support of his wife while training.

Back in Spain 🇪🇸 to prepare for the next goals 💪🏼 #cube #bbb @teamwantygobert

Een foto die is geplaatst door Roy Jans (@royj90) op

Roy Jans enjoying the good training conditions in Calpe, Spain.

Very diverse conditions on Sicily for Simone Antonini. 18 degrees at the beach, -5 degrees at the top of Mount Elba.

Cobbles on Sicily look a little different than in Belgium, but the approach is the same: ride them as hard as you can. Check out the stunning white Mount Elba in the back.

 

Kids are taking over

The Mount Elba isn’t the only thing that’s covered in snow. This creation of Danilo Napolitano’s son is making every BBB product looking cool. Is this the way he celebrates the top-10 finish of daddy on the second stage of Driedaagse of West-Vlaanderen?

A Wanty-Groupe Gobert snowman on a CUBE! Made by Leo Napolitano

Posted by Wanty – Groupe Gobert on Sunday, March 6, 2016

The snowman of Leo Napolitano, son of Wanty sprinter Danilo Napolitano. Doesn’t our helmet and glasses look cool?

And there were more kids having an active weekend last days. The son of mountainbiker Joost Wichman was cleaning his bike after a cross country ride on Sunday. ‘Teach them young’ is the motto of the Dutch four cross legend. Well, that seems to work out quite well for him. And his son is using his head allready, by wearing one of our cool kids helmets. Even when working on the bike, wear a helmet!

#teachthemyoung 😉 #irideradon #weridecb #mountainbike #cleaning #mick #mtb #xc #enduro @bbbcycling

A photo posted by Joost Wichman (@joostwichman) on

Joost Wichman knows how to clean his bike. Just hand it over to your son and you’re good to go!

 

BBB takes the podium in Croatia

In the eastern part of Europe our continental teams are ripping up the roads with two podium spots in the Porec Trophy on Saturday. Matej Mugerli of the Baku Cycling Project took the win and sprinter Jan Tratnik of Amplatz – BMC finished second. It was the third time already for Matej that he took the win in Croatia after finishing first in 2012 and 2013. The sprinter of Baku was very pleased with the result, being happy with a win early in the season. “I am very proud and happy to win again here. It is always great to have a win early in the season. The race was very difficult today, with the wind, and my team did a super job. Thanks to all for the hard work, it paid off for all of us!”

Cycling / Radsport / 14. Porec Trophy – Trofej Porec / 05.03.201Jan TRATNIK ( SLO / Amplatz – BMC ) wird nach einer…

Posted by Team AMPLATZ – BMC on Saturday, March 5, 2016

Jan Tratnik of Amplatz-BMC did a great job, finishing second in Croatia.

Let’s take another look at these happy moments of Matej Mugerli and the Porec Trophy! Photos: Stiel Photography

Posted by Synergy Baku Cycling Project on Sunday, March 6, 2016

Victory for Matej Mugerli and the podium of the Porec Trophy, with two BBB riders on the top steps.

 

Paris-Nice

One of the two most important stage races in the pre-season started last weekend with a prologue. Together with the Tirreno-Adriatico, Paris-Nice is the very first test case for the stage racers to test their form. FDJ started their Paris-Nice with a solid prologue. Two riders finished in the 20 second margin of winner Michael Matthews. Ignatas Konovalovas and Arnaud Démare both finished top-40 of 175 riders. The first stage is a 198 kilometre ride to Vendome, with two climbs of the 3rd category. The riders have to conquer the Chemin du Tertre de la Motte two times before they finish. In between there is a sprint for the green jersey.

A small impression of the Paris-Nice prologue, photographed by Nicolas Götz.