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Konychev makes the breakaway at Gent Wevelgem after some bad luck for MTS

Sun 11 Oct 2020

Young Italian Alex Konychev made it into the early breakaway today in Gent Wevelgem for Mitchelton-SCOTT, animating the start of the race, before the decisive final moves came over the Kemmelberg. 

In the end, Luka Mezgec was the highest placed rider for Mitchelton-SCOTT in 65th place after some bad luck, including a crash and then a puncture during his chase back. 

With 30km to go, a select group of 14 riders rode away to contested the final, with Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) coming out on top, taking the race win.

Seven away
The 223km day began with a group of seven riders breaking away with 22-year-old Konychev present for the Australian outfit.

The group was allowed to ride out to an advantage of over six minutes before their time gap plummeted down to just two minutes after the first ascent of the cobbled Kemmelberg when the real action began.

Alert to the action
With narrow twisty roads, cobbles and wind to contend with, the race blew to pieces in the final 80km. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin Fenix) was one of the key protagonists launching attacks as the peloton split after the Kemmelberg, which forced a group of 30 riders to bridge across to the front of the race.

Konychev, alert to the action, remained towards the front as the junction was made on the narrow roads and continued to stay involved at the front as the sole representative for Mitchelton-SCOTT.

Behind, Luke Durbridge and Jack Bauer tried to draw back the dangerous front group to assist Konychev but as new attacks flew, Konychev’s front group split once again. 

14 for the final
The front of the race continued to change composition with a select group of nine riders, including many race favourites, able to break away. The group opened up a significant gap as Konychev and the other original breakaway riders were absorbed by the chasing group. 

Bad luck struck as team leader Mezgec crashed and then on his journey back into the race punctured, which forced him out of contention as the race unfolded ahead.

On the third and final time up the Kemmelberg, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and four others made the junction across to the lead group of nine, leaving a 14-rider group left to contest the victory. The peloton behind shattered into various groups but never saw the front of the race again.

Alex Konychev
“The plan was controlling the beginning of the race. I was just out there really focused at the start, in these races you never know what’s going to happen and I love to attack so I went for that.

"Once they caught me, I just tried to stay as much as possible there to help Jack Bauer and Luka Mezgec who weren’t so lucky today. Luka crashed and then punctured on the way back and Jack spent a lot of energy trying to get Luka back.

"It’s been really hard even because in a season like this we don’t have many long races like this, but I came here really motivated and wanted to get a nice ride out there and so it was.

"I’m happy with my performance and hoping that we will get some good luck for the coming races. For sure it’s been a good opportunity today and a lot of experience for the future years."

Laurenzo Lapage - Sport Director
"The guys all did a good job but Luka got a puncture at the worst moment in the race and then that was that. It is sometimes like that in these races. Unlucky day for us."

2020 Gent Wevelgem Results:
1. Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) 5:19:20
2. Florian Senechal (Deceuninck-Quickstep) ST
3. Matteo Trentin (CCC Team) ST
65. Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +6:11

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

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