The season is on. We joined the very well-stocked Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen last week. The prologue in Middelkerke on Friday ran over seven kilometers and went quite well for our team. We can be satisfied with Tino Thömel's 33rd place for our first race appearance. The good place was probably on MR. T, our time trial car from Simplon.
On Saturday we had our first probation. Unfortunately, Kai Kautz and Max Walsleben fell on the way to the Oude Kwaremont. Kai suffered severe abrasions and Max even had to give up later due to a tear on his nose that was bleeding profusely.
On the Oude Kwaremont, the mountain that is known from many classics, things really got down to business! Alexander Krieger and Nikodemus Holler managed to pass this cobblestone climb in the front part of the field. However, the rest of our team had to get behind fight for survival and thus found himself in the various Grupettos.
Kai probably had one of the hardest starts of the season, as after his fall with a broken shoe buckle and loose shoe plate he had to chase 90 kilometers alone or together with Marcel Weber to be able to start again the next day.
On the final laps in Harelbeke, Alexander unfortunately fell while in a good position and was therefore unable to sprint for a good position.
The final stage on Sunday from Nieuwpoort to Ichtegem, which was a bit harder than Saturday's stage, we were only able to start with seven riders because of the falls from the previous day. From the start, the Omega Pharma-QuickStep and BMC teams set the pace in the field, especially as the wind was ideal for a classic wind edge. Already after four kilometers both teams caused the division of the field. Tino, Alex, Niko, Jack and Kai were able to assert themselves in the first group. After about an hour of racing, the pace slowed down and the field largely rolled together again up to the Kemmelberg.
On the following climbs, however, the field broke up into several parts. However, Alexander and Niko were able to stay in the first group. Niko only had to pay tribute to the pace on the final laps. Unfortunately, Alex was stopped by a chain thrown down on the last cobblestone passage.
As you can see, we didn't have luck on our side at the start of the season. Nevertheless, we are not dissatisfied. We were able to collect valuable racing kilometers and, despite all the bad luck, presented ourselves well at our first appearance together. Confidence therefore prevails for the next races. Wish us luck!