Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) lived up to his pre-race favourite tag and took the win of the opening Challenge Mallorca race. Sam Bennett (Bora Argon 18) was 2nd while we had Edvald Boasson Hagen up there in 3rd place.
After Natnael Berhane tried on multiple occasions to get into the early break of the day, eventually it was 3 riders who managed to get away. Grischa Janorschke (Roth), Eneko Lizarralde (Euskadi) and Domingos Goncalves (Caja Rural) were the escapees who pushed on to a 5 minute lead in the opening 50km.
Lotto-Soudal were the team who took control of the peloton from early on and brought the leading trio’s advantage down to 3’00”, holding them there on a leash for most of the day. Apart from Bernie Eisel changing a shoe mid stage, our African Team had a quiet day in the peloton before preparing for the sprint finale.
When it was time for our African Team to make its presence felt, all the boys were on key. With 25km to go, the race was all together and our African Team had moved to the front. A solid leadout by the entire team saw Edvald and Youcef Reguigui positioned in a great spot for the final km. In the end Youcef was bumped from the wheel of Eddy in the last few meters and so our Norwegian champ gave the sprint a go, taking a fine 3rd place in our first European race for 2016 with Youcef rolling across in 15th.
Edvald Boasson Hagen – Rider
It was a good race, not too hectic in the bunch and I was feeling good. The team was really good, through the last few kilometers they did a really good leadout. We were supposed to have Youcef up there for the sprint, we were riding for him today. Unfortunately, he lost my wheel right near the end so I was happy to still get 3rd. Imagine if Youcef was on my wheel, it could have been even better then but that’s just how it is sometimes. The leadout was really good though.