Mitchelton-SCOTT active but not able to feature at Tour of Flanders

Sun 18 Oct 2020

Despite countless efforts to initiate both the initial breakaway and a counterattack, Mitchelton-SCOTT weren’t able to heavily feature in the 2020 Tour of Flanders

As Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin – Fenix) went on to take the victory in a tight two-up sprint with Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), as Luka Mezgec finished as the Australian outfit’s top finisher in 23rd place. 

Settling in:
Showing an active card early, Mitchelton-SCOTT had Alex Edmondson, Luke Durbridge, Chris Juul-Jensen and Alex Konychev amongst the early action when the flag dropped for the start of racing. 

Despite their best efforts, the Australian outfit didn’t have a representative in the breakaway when a move of six went up the road and the teams of the favourites blocked the road at the front of the peloton. 

With a long day ahead, the front of the race was able to ride out to an eight-minute advantage as they approached the first of 15 cobbled sectors.

Trying again:
As racing entered the final 90km, the gap to the initial move had reduced and the bunch began to ride more actively.

Mitchelton-SCOTT was once again part of the action, trying to create a countermove to bridge across with the likes of Edmondson, but the peloton weren’t willing to let another group form. 

Favourites come to the fore:
Shortly after the race was back together, the pre-race favourites began to show their cards.

The winning move came around the Taaienberg, as Julian Alaphilippe (Elegant-Quickstep), Mout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Mathueu van der Poel (Alpecin – Fenix) went clear. A chase group formed behind, with Luka Mezgec just off the back.

Unfortunately the front of the race reduce to two when Alaphilippe hit a moto, whilst the other duo continue to extend their advantage before battling it out in a photo finish sprint.

Luka Mezgec:
“My goal was to always be in position because I have always come here to these races and been too conservative going into the climbs.  

“I have always had legs but I was out of position, so this time I wanted to spend some more energy to be there, take some wind, sprint into the corners and not be caught out of position. If I was to lose the race, I wanted to lose the race because I didn’t have the legs.  

“I was always up there but on the Koppenberg a small group went away and I just missed a bit of power to go with the first group. After Taaienberg, we were a group of 10 but then it was just about finishing the race in that group.

“It was the first time for me to be always switched on, always knowing what’s coming up, knowing when to rest and when to be up there, so surely these are races to focus on in the future.”

Laurenzo Lapage – Sport Director:
“As a team the spirit was there, they were fighting and positioning and all of the plans we made before the race were followed up so it was good to see them there, creating chances for themselves and to show themselves. 

“After the Koppenberg Luka tried to get across, they were last wheels when they were on the Mariaborrestraat but Alaphilippe and Van der Poel put the hammer down there and he just missed it.

“All day he positioned well, it’s the first time in these races that he made it so far and I think now he has to take that confidence into next year.  

“For Kaden to do so well in his first Flanders at his age, and Edmo showing why he won the under-23 race – those guys need to take confidence from those performances for the future.”

2020 Tour of Flanders – Results:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 5:43:17
2. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) ST
3. Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) +0:08
23. Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +2:41