Omloop Eurometropool concludes in bunch sprint
Belgian ITT Champion Yves Lampaert was our team's highest-placed rider on Saturday.
Quick-Step Floors' Iljo Keisse, winner this season of Omloop Mandel, was one of the 13 riders to book a place in the original escape of the inaugural Omloop Eurometropool, which formed 20 kilometers from the start. The experienced Belgian was one of the group's main motors, but the flat and non-technical terrain didn't work in favour of the men in the lead, who couldn't take their advantage north of a minute.
After the original breakaway was shut down with 50 kilometers to go, other attacks were launched from the peloton, as many riders were hoping to foil the sprinters' plans. A two-man move, followed shortly by a strong dig of seven riders managed to exert pressure to some extent on the pack, but the teams who were gambling everything on a bunch gallop did their homework and brought the attackers back to heel for the final kilometers.
Marcel Kittel – who was racing for the first time in a month – tried to get into the mix, but due to the hectic nature of the sprint he couldn't find the best position in the last kilometer and didn't contest the sprint, which was won by Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) over Bert Van Lerberghe (Spot Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Tom Devriendt (Wanty-Groupe Gobert). Yves Lampaert was Quick-Step Floors' top finisher, in 15th place, same time as the winner.
On Sunday, Kittel will have another the chance to go for victory, this time in the Tour de l'Eurometropole, where he'll be joined by Tim Declercq, Dries Devenyns, Alvaro Hodeg, Iljo Keisse, Yves Lampaert, Davide Martinelli and Martin Velits.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele