On Easter Monday we traveled to Hückeswagen with eight drivers and solid ambitions, where the 98th edition of the Rhenish classic Rund um Köln started. We then had to cover more than 200 kilometers on the way to Cologne, with the climbs in the Bergisches Land demanding everything of our drivers.
The race started quickly. However, hectic only arose at the first mountain classification. The onset of rain led to a mass fall, in which Jack Cummings was also involved. The Australian injured his knee and had to end the race prematurely.
The fall split the field into three parts. Martin Reinert, Alexander Krieger and Nikodemus Holler made it into the first larger group. Here they were able to assert themselves in the further course of the race. On the way through the Bergisches Land, they perfectly implemented the instructions of our sporting director, Luc Schuddinck. Even as the race entered the closing stages, they held their own behind experienced teams Belkin, MTN-Qhubeka and NetApp-Endura. On the final laps, they consistently followed a breakaway trio that was caught shortly before the finish line. In the final kilometer, Niko brought Alex into position, who just missed the podium with a strong sixth place.
Sam Bennett (NetApp-Endura) secured victory in the photo finish in front of Barry Markus (Belkin) and Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka).
With sixth place, we achieved our goal for the race and were also able to collect important UCI points.