Ivan Garcia 11th at Scheldeprijs
Schoten, 5th April – Ivan Garcia Cortina took 11th place at today’s race – another successful one for BAHRAIN MERIDA Team. With only six riders, BAHRAIN MERIDA Team avoided all of the today’s crashes and safely finished the race.
The festival of cycling in Flanderen and the fever of Roonde Van Vlaanderen continued today with 105th edition of Scheldeprijs, one of the oldest races in the world. The fantastic atmosphere, with streets full of people, cheering to their cycling idols created unique experience. Today’s 202 km long race was also a special one for a local rider Tom Boonen. It was his last race on home ground, with a lot of emotional moments.
For today’s race Niccolò Bonifazio was selected as the team leader with the support of experienced Borut Božič and all of our younger riders – Luka Pibernik, Ivan Cortina, Ion Andre Insausti and Meiyin Wang. Due to his head concussion from the crash in the previous race, Chun-Kai Feng was not at the start line, so BAHRAIN MERIDA Team had only six riders in today’s race.
After the presentation of teams in Mol, the race started and just a few kilometers after the start, a group of 6 riders went in a breakaway and held an approximate gap of 3 minutes along the way. BAHRAIN MERIDA riders had been together in the peloton, supporting Bonifazio. After 170 km the peloton became compact and the real race started with 3 laps around Schoten. Quick Step Floors team, Team SKY and Katyusha made hard solid blocks in the front and BAHRAIN MERIDA riders were pushing Niccolò Bonifazio hard to get as much to the front as possible. Ivan Cortina was really close to Bonifazio. After a massive crash, in which BAHRAIN MERIDA riders luckily weren’t involved, Ivan Cortina got to the fastest group of 15 riders, went to the sprint battle and took 11th place.
»Today was a race for us!« said sports director Tristan Hoffman right after the race. »Cortina came to 11th place, so we almost achieved our goal to be in top ten. We are down to six riders, because we have some injuries, so we are very satisfied with 11th place. Also very important – nobody from our team was in the crash, everybody came safely to the finish, so we are excited for the next race.”
Ivan Garcia Cortina added: “In the finish I tried to work for Boni, but in the end I didn’t know where he was, so I tried to do the best sprint I could. I think I had agood position in the last kilometres – maybe 6th or 7th, but I didn’t have enough power to keep it and so I finished 11th.”
At the final sprint Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) took his fifth Scheldeprijs victory, runner-up was Italian Elia Viviani (Team SKY) and Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) took the third place.