A thrilling display of attacking racing saw Team Qhubeka ASSOS draw widespread praise for their overall performance at Le Samyn on Tuesday, with Victor Campenaerts winning the prize for most attacking rider of the day for Africa’s UCI WorldTour team.
Even so, there was some disappointment at the prospect of missing out on an even better result as sprinter Carlos Barbero was desperately unlucky, with a flat tyre with just over 5km to go on the high speed run in to the final.
After the team played their part in reeling in the day’s early breakaway, they breathed fire into the race through a series of relentless attacks from Campenaerts, the World Hour Record holder, including a final effort within a few hundred metres of the finish.
His efforts, through the support of the entire team, together with a late surge from Lukasz Wisniowski and the the support of Dimtri Claeys, saw the team fall agonisingly short of a podium spot but ultimately declare themselves very satisfied with the day’s overall performance.
The race was won in a sprint by Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) with Claeys finishing eighth, Wisniowski 13th and Campenaerts 16th overall.
We executed a very offensive race (today); in a race on cobblestones to have three riders in the top 16 is a really strong performance.
Of course we want to win but I think it’s a very good result. I was awarded prize for the most attractive rider too, so it was a really good day for the team, and we can be proud of our fight and effort out there.
We had a really good day with the whole team, and are happy. We rode really offensively and we were able to deliver a good collective result. That said, I think this shows that in the coming races we can still be, and get, better. We still aim to go even higher, and step by step we’ll do so.