Edward Theuns finished second at Danilith Nokere Koerse while Elisa Balsamo sprinted to fourth place after some bad luck for the team in the women's race.
Trek-Segafredo’s men’s team started the 193.6-kilometer race today with a clear leader in Edward Theuns and they stuck to their plan perfectly.
It was a chaotic with a number of crashes once the race reached the local laps around Nokere but the Team was able to maintain a strong position at the front of the bunch all day and, with the exception of Emils Liepins who was involved in a small crash on the final lap, everyone stayed out of trouble.
In the end, it was a small group of riders who went on to contest the sprint but after all the hard work of his teammates, Theuns was where he needed to be in final kilometers of the day and was able to challenge for the victory.
The Belgian rider came narrowly close to winning on home soil with his compatriot (and the national champion) Tim Merlier (Soudal – Quick Step) taking the top spot on the podium just ahead of Theuns.
Reaction From the Finish Line
“I knew it was going to be difficult to beat Tim. I was a little too big in the sprint. Shifting gears on cobblestones is not easy, so that was not an option. Tim has a great power sprint, it's very hard to get over him. Of course, I was hoping that he would stop, but finishing second was the highest result achievable.”
"I didn't actually see the crashes as I was always in the first positions of the peloton but a course like this always creates nervous racing but for me it was a good day. I was third in Le Samyn, second here so I am just missing that victory but I am happy to be on the podium here. Of course, I will keep trying to get that win and I hope it will eventually come. I am pleased with the way the team rode for me today, I am strong in a sprint like this so I am happy that I was able to get close and that I could reward the work of the team with a second place."
More Photos from the Men’s Race
An unlucky day for our women’s team in Belgium
Elisa Balsamo took fourth place in the women’s race behind Lotte Kopecky, who attacked on the final lap to take a solo victory in Nokere.
However, the Italian national champion was agonisingly close to reaching the wheel of the Team SD Worx rider and only missed out on the move due to an untimely crash.
Balsamo’s teammate Shirin Van Anrooij – who was making her return to road racing in 2023 in Belgium today – helped bring her back to the chasing group but with teammates slowing down the chase, Kopecky was able to hold on for the win.
The battle for the minor places saw more bad luck for Balsamo as she was slightly boxed in on the right side and had to take a longer way around to find some clear cobbles before starting her final sprint to the line
Unfortunately Lauretta Hanson was also involved in a crash during the race and was taken to hospital for further examination. A more detailed update to follow.