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"I'm obviously happy but especially surprised with my performance. I made ​​this prologue my first big goal of the season because I am a specialist in this discipline. I did not expect to beat the course record. It's...

Photo: Tim De Waele/TDW Sport




















04.03.2016 @ 21:46 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Neo-professional Tom Bohli (BMC) proved that he is one of the greatest time trial talents by taking a surprisingly dominant victory in the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen prologue. With a course record of 7.50, the young Swiss was in a class of his own as he beat Martijn Keizer (LottoNL-Jumbo) into second by six seconds over the short 7km distance, with Lukasz Wisniowski (Etixx-QuickStep) four seconds further adrift in third.


We have gathered several reactions.


Tom Bohli: I never expected to beat the course record

Tom Bohli has made race history at Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen, smashing the opening 7km time trial to cross the line with 7’50, the fastest time ever recorded.


Bohli set the time to beat with more than half of the riders still to race, but no one came close to his record-breaking time. Martijn Keizer (LottoNL Jumbo) took second place with 7’56, and Lucasz Wizniowski (Etixx-Quick-Step) in third with 8’00.


It is Bohli’s first win with BMC Racing Team since making the transition from BMC Development Team for the 2016 season.


“It’s a really amazing feeling to get my first win as a pro. I really didn’t know if I could make it but to get it, it’s a really good feeling,” Bohli said afterwards.


“It gives me confidence early in the season. I didn’t get the chance to test my time trial form in Qatar due to my crash, so I’m so happy to come out now and do well. We have a really strong team here and different cards to play for the next two stages.”


"The race is certainly not over. So much can happen but I cannot deny that I have a good starting position. I'm already very satisfied with my performance. I really focused on this prologue. Short time trials are my specialty. I probably made the difference in the first part of the seven kilometers since the wind was blowing hard from the front there. In that section I have it everything. After the turning point, we had a tailwind. I let it assist me and could push a big gear.


“It's my first professional season and so my first leadership position in a stage race. I have some responsibility in my team in the next two stages. Perhaps we will try to keep my yellow jersey as long as possible. But do not underestimate the other team. They can rely on their experience here, not least in this typical Belgian race. We'll see where we end up. The win in this prologue is already a boost.”


"I'm obviously happy but especially surprised with my performance,” he told Directvelo. “I made ​​this prologue my first big goal of the season because I am a specialist in this discipline. I did not expect to beat the course record. It's really unbelievable. 


”I think the difference was in the first part with the wind. I was really pushing my bike. On the way back, I used the tailwind. I had prepared this time trial carefully by watching videos. 


“I do not know if I'll be able to defend the jersey because there are Flemish classics specialists behind me, who know the terrain better than me. I have a young talented team around me with Dylan Teuns and Loïc Vliegen, who can also try their luck the next two days.”


BMC Racing Team Sports Director Jackson Stewart said the team will focus on keeping Bohli in the leader’s jersey.


“It was a great ride from Tom, who was always going in with a good shot. We arrived early this morning as well to give the guys a good chance to recon the course. Our focus going into tomorrow and Sunday’s stages will be to defend the jersey and limit any time bonuses,” Stewart said.


Bohli now leads the General Classification and the Young Rider Classification going into stage 1 tomorrow, 176,3km from Brugge to Harelbeke.


Frustrated Martijn Keizer: It’s another second place

Martijn Keizer was six seconds too short for the win in the prologue of the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen on Friday. The Team LottoNL-Jumbo rider was beaten by Tom Bohli (BMC Racing Team). Behind Keizer, Steven Lammertink finished sixth. Robert Wagner placed eighth and Koen Bouwman 11th.


“This was a very good prologue for our team,” sports director Merijn Zeeman said after the race. “To finish top 11 with four of our riders is very strong. It’s again a second place in a time trial on the other hand. Bohli was six seconds faster and deserves this win, but it’s still annoying. Martijn made a lot of progress, though. He was nine seconds faster than last year.”


Keizer explained his progression.


“It tells something about my shape and about the bike as well. I didn’t have this bike last year yet. Everything was better. I was really looking forward to this race and the team allowed me to abandon Le Samyn early to be ready for today’s time trial. I’m confirming that I’m in good condition with this second place and we have to fight to convert it to wins for me or one of my team-mates. We have a strong team and we will have enough chances to make the difference in the upcoming days.”


 "This is again a second place for me,” he told Directvelo. “I have finished second in the last two prologues I have done. We delivered a good team performance, with four riders in the top 11. I gave everything from start to finish. I finished six seconds behind the winner which is a big difference. We have two days to try to win the overall with Dylan Groenewegen. The race is certainly not over. " 


The results of the prologue confirmed that Team LottoNL-Jumbo has many options this weekend.


“Steven and Koen are both neo-professionals,” Zeeman said. “The youngsters are doing great. I’m satisfied with the level of the whole team. This was a nice start to the weekend. Tomorrow and Sunday, the weather will play a role and the profile will be tough. Tomorrow, we have to climb the Oude Kwaremont and the Kemmelberg is part of the race on Sunday. We have to be focussed as a team.”


Wisniowski and Van Keirsbulck ready to attack Bohli in West Flanders

One of the main riders of Etixx – Quick-Step on the opening Belgian week-end, where he notched a 5th place in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, Lukasz Wisniowski confirmed the strong form he's enjoying this spring by finishing on the last spot of the podium in the prologue that kicked-off the 70th edition of Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen. In Middelkerke, a small town located in West Flanders, on the North Sea, Wisniowski rolled down the ramp in the first part of the day and put in a blistering ride, stopping the clock in exactly 8 minutes.


The time he set was enough for the 24-year-old to take third place, behind Tom Bohli (BMC) and Martijn Keizer (LottoNL-Jumbo). Lukasz Wisniowski wasn't the only Etixx – Quick-Step rider to post a good result on Friday, in the 7-km long individual time trial, as Guillaume Van Keirsbulck had the 9th fastest time and went on the podium to receive the jersey for the best placed West Flandrian.


"I felt good today. I am more confident after Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, and my shape is getting better and better. Now I am really looking forward to the next stages. I like the cobblestones and the wind, and that's exactly what we'll have here. I'm lying in third, which is an excellent position to try something over the following days, especially as we have a strong team for this event", said Wisniowski at the finish.


"I'm happy with my prologue,” Van Keirsbulck told Directvelo. “I may have started too fast and on the way back I struggled. The team asked me to start well, but I have perhaps not managed my effort perfectly. I did not think I could perform at this level in the time trial. This is my first since the Belgian Championships. Łukasz Wiśniowski and I are both in the Top 10. They expect bad conditions for Sunday.It will be possible to make the race difficult, especially on Sunday. I do not know much about the winner. He set the fastest time in the history of this prologue. There is absolutely nothing to say.”


Anton Vorobyev unable to repeat prologue victory

The Belgian stage race Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen started with a traditional 7 km prologue in Middelkerke. Last year’s winner of this prologue, Anton Vorobyev, once again did a very good race. He was close to his result from last year, stopping the clock at 8 minutes and 2 seconds for fourth place.


”In general, I feel good and it looks like my form is increasing. But I lost some days after Algarve because of bad weather at home in Italy and here in Belgium. It was impossible to do normal training. Today, of course, I wanted to do my best and the aim was at least to repeat last year’s result. I lost 5 seconds to myself from 2015, but that is it for the moment. We will have two hard days here in West-Vlaanderen because of the weather, which is expected to be really bad, but we will fight in every stage. We have sprinters here and to help them to win, we can attack, so we will see,” said Anton Vorobyev.


The winner of the prologue was Tom Bohli from BMC, who marked new best time on this distance with 7 minutes and 50 seconds. The daily podium was completed by Martijn Keizer of LottoNL-Jumbo (07.56) and Łucasz Wiśniowski from Etixx – Quick Step (08.00). In addition to Anton Vorobyev, two more riders of Team KATUSHA delivered a good result: Nils Politt finished 10th, 17 seconds behind the winner, Vladimir Isaychev did 14th, +0.19.


”I am satisfied with our performance. In general, our riders did a good race. We have 3 riders in Top-15 and this is a good position to attack in the next two days. I think we are ready for something more in this race, so we are looking forward to the stages tomorrow and the day after tomorrow,” added sports director Gennady Mikhaylov.


Lotto Soudal: The Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen is not over yet

Sean De Bie in seventh place was the best Lotto-Soudal rider.


“The Three Days of West Flanders is certainly not over yet. If the weather forecasts are correct, we will have a crosswind in the first part in the Flemish Ardennes on Saturday. In the section to Harelbeke, the wind will be a disadvantage. The goal will be to be attentive,” Frederik Willems, sports director at Lotto-Soudal, told Het Nieuwsblad. "Our goal is to win a stage. Then we'll see whether the GC can come into play. Sean De Bie is our best man. And do not forget Tosh Van der Sande not. Leader Tom Bohli had no knowledge about the course but his BMC team has. I am thinking of Allan Peiper who was here today. He knows the Flemish races. We must rely on our own strength.”


Polish time trial sensation off the pace in West Flanders

Each member of ONE Pro Cycling crossed the line safely having put in a great effort with two exceptional performances from Kiwi rider Dion Smith and Polish rider Marcin Bialoblocki.


Smith was one of the earlier riders on the start ramp, quickly going into the lead with a time of 8 minutes 15 second, a position which he held for the next 45 minutes. One of the final riders to grace the start ramp was the Polish National Champion Marcin Bialoblocki. Finishing in a time of 8 minutes 8 seconds Bialoblocki claimed 12th position on the GC, a pleasing result for ‘The Machine’ who specialises in longer distances.


FDJ target stage wins in the road stages
The FDJ team has its young riders in the Three Days of West Flanders.The formation of Frédéric Guesdon is somewhat decimated but the sports director Clover is hopeful to get a result over the weekend.


"Laurent Pichon is very tired and does not have a good feeling, said Guesdon, "and the medical service of the team preferred to let hi rest. Benoît Vaugrenard was ill this morning with a fever, and he withdrew too . Everyone has been affected by the flu at his home, his wife and daughters, and he was not lucky. We have the the sprinters Marc Sarreau and Lorrenzo Manzin and Pierre-Henri Lecuisinier and Olivier Le Gac, Cédric Pineau and Yoann Offredo will not miss any work."

The FDJ team had no real ambition in the prologue. Lecuisinier and Le Gac being the top two at the same time, 35 seconds behind Bohli.


"Saturday's stage," continues Guesdon, "offers the Oude Kwaremont and a cobbled section but far away from the finish. So this could end in a sprint but the BMC team who took the leader's jersey, is not complete. I think they will be attacked. In an aggressiv race, I really want to see Olivier Le Gac."



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