Mitchelton-BikeExchange gain experience on a cold rainy day in Grand Prix CriquielionSun 13 May 2018
Chinese UCI Continental team Mitchelton-BikeExchange used Grand Prix Criquielion to maximise the experience of European racing with tough, rainy and cold conditions today in Belgium.
The plus 200kilometre race was made up of five smaller laps, before transitioning along undulating roads to five finishing laps of a 18kilometre circuit which included a hard cobble climb.
A breakaway established in the early stages and hovered over two minutes ahead of the peloton before the race finally returned together for a bunch sprint.
The team worked to position Chinese rider Sun Xiaoling who was eventually the highest placed finisher in 43rd place, after losing position in the final kilometres after being caught behind a crash.
Mitchelton-BikeExchange faced tough competing against the mixed field of Pro-Continental and Continental teams, with the big Belgian teams dominating the sprint finish but walk away having gained a lot of extra experience riding together on European soil ahead of the next big races.
Callum Scotson - Multiple track medallist
“The race started off pretty fast in the first small laps before settling down. It was a long 200k in cold conditions but the tempo was not so hard over the whole race, so it finished in a bunch sprint.”
“Personally I wasn't having a great day, so we switched the plan to help Sun try for a good position since we realised it would probably be a bunch sprint.
"Over the last cobble climb there were some splits before all coming back together. On the run in Sun was there going for the sprint but got caught behind a crash in what was a pretty crazy final few kilometres.
“I think the whole team will be determined to improve on today's result next weekend at Paris Arras tour.”
Grand Prix Criquielion results:
1. Lionel Taminiaux (AGO-Aqua Serive) 4:26:08
2. Alfdan de Decker
3. Alexander Maes (Tarteletto-Isorex) ST
43. Sun Xiaolong (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) ST