“In the breakaway, it’s a dream. It’s great. You get to soak up the support from the fans, take all the cheers. I heard my name out there a lot, which was surprising and kind of made me glow.” – Alex Howes
Spring season is officially under way. While we may not have come away with the result we chased at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the EF Education First effort in Belgium today was top-notch. , a late call-up to the opening weekend, flew the flag in the early escape. The tactic was intended to relieve the pressure on Classics captain Alex HowesSep Vanmarcke and give the team an extra set of legs at the front when the attacks began to fly.
“That didn’t work out for us,” said sport director Andreas Klier. “It was obvious what happened on the Molenberg. It’s not that anyone did anything wrong. Sometimes you have a hard debrief after a result like today, but that’s not needed today. The best rider won. There wasn’t a lot of hiding.”
The best rider in Ghent, Belgium on Saturday was Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-Quick-Step). He out-smarted a six-man late race selection to solo across the finish line. hit the finish with the first chase group, crossing the line in 15 Sebastian Langeveldth place.
“I was more or less in a good position but I just exploded,” said Vanmarcke. “I couldn’t follow. It’s not normal for me. I should have been there. I was 15th wheel, the one letting the gap open. I don’t know why I didn’t have a good day.
“After I tried to help Sebastian, who was still feeling good, as much as possible,” Vanmarcke added. “That was it for me.”
With the start of the Classics comes the return of the Ashley and Jered Gruber. Enjoy the first Gruber gallery of the season.
Read more about Howes’ return to racing following a hyperthyroidism diagnosis.