An exciting opening stage with rain, cobbles and lots of attacks, Axel Källberg takes third on the day into Nieuwpoort at Flanders Tomorrow Tour.
Attacking from the gun, Källberg made it into the early breakaway trio which quickly built up an almost three minute lead. Yet, the peloton upped the pace as they hit the cobblestone sections and like the rain that fell, so did their advantage. Källberg also slipped out on the wet cobbles but he was quickly back on his bike and rejoined the front of the race but with 60 kilometres to go they were caught and the attacks started once more.
However, the race had to be paused to let a bridge open that was along the route and on the restart things were more tentative; before the attacks once again restarted at around 20 kilometres to go. Adam Seeman made into a promising move for the Development program but they were brought back, before the ever attacking Källberg made it into the move that stuck. Working well together all the way to the line, Källberg was able to show his speed in the kick to the finish; getting up to take a strong third place.
Speaking after the stage Källberg said: “It was a nice first stage here today in Flanders Tomorrow Tour. We had the plan to be in the early breakaway and I managed to get in it. We worked well together until one of the other guys crashed in front of me and I also went down, and my gears stopped working so I had to change bike. The bunch caught us soon after that. When it was all together again the attacks started to come and we rode very well together and were in all the moves. With a bit over a lap to go I got away in a group of around 15 guys and in the end we stayed away and I was able to sprint to third. I’m super happy with a podium but of course you always want to win. Teamwork and communication was really good today and I think that’s the reason for a good result.”
Team dsm-firmenich coach Bennie Lambregts added: “I think the guys today a really good job. They stuck to the plan, were always in the front with numbers so that they could go for the moves. Axel was in the early move for us but crashed and then had some issues after that and they were then soon caught. After that we were always in the front with some really good teamwork. A big group of 15 riders went away on the end of the second last lap and Axel was in there again for us, finishing third in the end. Of course Axel did a great ride today but so did everyone and they showed some great teamwork, which everyone was happy with, so we’ll look to continue that in the next days here.”