Trofeo Mallorca: Meersman 7th in Select Group Sprint
The finish of 169.8km Trofeo Alcudia-Can Picafort-Playa de Muro — 4th and final day of Trofeo Mallorca — was a challenging, climbing day that chipped away at the peloton until only a select group of approximately 40 riders remained.
Sports Director Tom Steels said that four OPQS were within that select group, and Gianluca Brambilla would have likely been there as well if not for a crash on a descent that left him with, luckily, only superficial wounds.
As a result of the team effort, and strong riding by Gianni Meersman, he was able to finish 7th in the sprint amongst an elite pack of riders. Leigh Howard (Orica GreenEDGE) won the stage. Maarten Wynants (Blanco Pro Cycling Team) was 2nd and Davide Cimolai (Lampre-Merida) was 3rd.
"The race itself was very good for the team," Steels said. "It was a very fast race. A lot of breaks. Finally, after about 30km there were about 10 riders in a break including Pieter Serry. Most of that group was brought back with about 40km to go. It really wasn't a big selection after that. After three or four climbs there was only the 40 riders left, and we had four riders there. We had Dries Devenyns, Gianni Meersman, Kevin De Weert and Kristof Vandewalle in the group."
"In the last 15kms we started to work to close gaps and prepare for the sprint with Gianni," Steels continued. "It went well with him. He was where he needed to be, there were just a few riders faster than him today. Gianni really did a good job. He came back after not having the best day yesterday. He proved he could do his sprint, and that was not, to me, a bunch sprint. That was a very select group at the end."
Steels said he was been proud of how the team has performed over the last days at Trofeo Mallorca, and today was no exception.
"There was great teamwork," Steels said. "They were always in front. On the hills, they were always in the first 20 positions. They did what they had to do. Overall they did a very good job."