The Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders showed impressive tenacity in Sunday’s last Ardennes Classic, Liège-Bastogne-Liège where Omar Fraile put it all on the line with a courageous attack in the final kilometers.
Mekseb Debesay was the first rider to show off the colors of our African Team as the 25-year-old Eritrean made it into the early breakaway with seven other riders. The group worked well together and it didn’t take long before it had a gap of over 12 minutes on the pack.
Later on, as the peloton started to up the pace and the terrain became more hilly, multiple riders tried to get away. Fraile and Nathan Haas were very active and managed to cover all the important moves. However, despite several strong groups forming at the front, it was still all together as the riders took on the final two ascents. Davide Formolo (Cannondale-Drapac) put in a powerful attack on the last 6 km but the peloton never let him out of sight.
On the final kilometers, as the road started to kick up for the last time, Fraile found energy to create yet another strong acceleration. Our Spanish climber stormed away from the peloton trying to bridge across to Formolo. However, he was brought back again when first Daniel Martin (Quick-Step Floors) and then Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) made their moves. At the end, Valverde took the win, while Fraile finished in 25th place after his do-or-die attack. Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Igor Antón and Serge Pauwels all rode very well to made sure that Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka finished with four riders in Top50 today.
“I knew my condition was good, as I have been training hard towards Giro d’Italia. I felt strong during the whole race and on the final climb, I found the last power in my legs and said to myself ‘Okay, let’s go!’ and I attacked. It was not possible today but I’m satisfied with the feelings in my legs. Now, I’m looking forward to the Giro”.