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"Actually I felt I was going to win when I attacked. I immediately got a gap and the legs felt too good."



















13.03.2016 @ 00:35 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Jesper Asselman took Roompot’s first win of the 2016 season when he came out on top in the first major Dutch race of the year. The local rider attacked from a 19-rider front group in the finale and managed to hold off lone chaser Mark McNally (Wanty). Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) had to settle for third by winning the sprint.


We have gathered several reactions.


Jesper Asselman: I knew immediately that I was going to win

Jesper Asselman finished off a strong collective action by Roompot - Orange Peloton. Fourth place for Raymond Kreder and no less than five riders in the first twenty of the results underlined the supremacy of the orange men in Drenthe.


"To win here on my birthday is amazing," Asselman said after the finish. "We were strong in the first group and could thus approach it in different ways. That my attack was ultimately the right one had everything to do with the work of my teammates."


In his home province, Berden De Vries showed his strong form like he did in Kuurne. The Dutchman was constantly in front  of the peloton on the final cobbles and seemed to be victorious in the final. He was caught in the final local lap, some three kilometers from the finish. Shortly thereafter Asselman chose the right time: "Actually I felt I was going to win when I attacked. I immediately got a gap and the legs felt too good," Asselman said on his 26th birthday.


Behind Briton McNally (Wanty - Groupe Gobert) and Dylan Groenewegen ( - Jumbo), Raymond Kreder finished fourth. His brother Michel, who played a crucial role in finale by joining a breakaway with Groenewegen was 14th . Berden de Vries finished his home race in 16th and Sjoerd van Ginneken (18th) was also part of the first group.  


"I know this course with, with a few cobblestones, the VAM-berg and chaos," Asselman told Wielerflits. “I like that. Ultimately, it was a beautiful day. Little wind, mild temperatures and sunshine. Then you know that it is difficult to make a difference, but in the end the race was still hard enough and we managed to ride away with a group on the VAMberg.”


"When I looked under my elbow for the first time, I saw that I had a nice gao. Then I realized that it would be difficult for the rest to close it. No one really came close so I could get to the finish with the arms in the air. For the team it is nice that we win immediately, now the pressure is a bit off.”


Mark McNally shows his potential with second place for Wanty-Groupe Gobert

Wanty-Groupe Gobert travelled to the Netherlands this Saturday for the Ronde van Drenthe. With Kenny Dehaes sports director Steven De Neef had a former winner of this race on the team. The other seven riders were: Dimitri Claeys, Antoine Demoitié, Tom Devriendt, Danilo Napolitano, Mark McNally, Lander Seynaeve and Robin Stenuit.


The second place for Mark McNally was the best result of the season so far. Kenny Dehaes was the second Wanty-Groupe Gobert rider in the top ten. The winner of the Ronde van Drenthe 2014 came in 7th today.


"This is a fantastic result for me and for the team. It's a reward for what we did together today since the start of the race. We led the race on the cobbles and in the final we still were with two up front," McNally said. 


Soon a breakaway of eventually eight riders was formed, There was no Wanty-Groupe Gobert representation in this group which was caught after crossing the finish line for the first time.


"It wasn't our goal today to put a rider in the breakaway," sports director Steven De Neef explains. "We knew the decision in the race would come much later."


On the penultimate ascent of the VAM-berg, a prominent feature in this race, the peloton broke to pieces. Mark McNally found himself in the first group of eight riders. On the last climb of the VAM-berg a group with Kenny Dehaes bridged to the leaders. This group of 18 riders would ride for victory. Roompot-Oranje peloton had strength in numbers and Berden de Vries was the first to try. His attempt was fruitless but under the arch of the final kilometre his teammate Jesper Asselman attacked. Mark McNally was the only one to react.


"I tried to get to his wheel. When I saw I had a little gap on the bunch I continued at the same speed. Eventually I come in second but I have no regrets. If I would have done it differently, I wouldn't have won either."


Steven De Neef praised the entire team.


"It was really a team effort. Everyone finished the race. In the final Roompot-Oranje Peloton had too many riders and they played the game perfectly. I have respect for what Mark McNally showed her during the entire race."


Lack of team support costs favourite Groenewegen victory in Drenthe

Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s Dylan Groenewegen placed third in the Tour of Drenthe today. The nearly 200-kilometre race was won by Jesper Asselman (Team Roompot) who escaped in the last few kilometres. Second place went to Tim Ariesen (SEG Racing Academy).


The 54th edition of Energiewacht Rond van Drenthe was held in good weather, good for echelons until the wind let up.


"We placed third today with Dylan, but I'm not satisfied," said sports director Merijn Zeeman after the race. "We let down ourselves today and it does not feel good. We had victory in mind, but after the first time up the VAM mountain, we lost the initiative. Dylan was alone with a force manoeuvre by team Roompot, which incidentally earned them the win. But from our side, it should have never happen. "


In the final, a large leading group of 17 riders rode away on the VAM mountain.


"We wanted to keep it in check today, with only a small group allowed to move free,” Zeeman added. "That all fell apart. Dylan rode a fantastic race, but even if he had won, I would not be satisfied because it would’ve been an individual and not a team victory.”


"It definitely could have gone better today," Dylan Groenewegen added. "Just before the VAM mountain, I had a flat tyre and got a wheel from Koen Bouwman. I fought me back to the front and made the right escape, but all alone. At some point, you have to gamble. Two men went and I won the sprint for third place. A missed opportunity!


“But I'm happy with my form and won’t dwell too much on this. We have to get going as a team again. We will focus on Wednesday in the Nokere Koerse. We will straighten it out.”


"I could not respond to everything,” he told Wielerglirs. “Certainly not when Jesper went 1.5km from the finish because then my sprint was gone. If someone had to win, Jesper is a nice winner. I just preffred to win myself. I have again done a good race. But if you are the only rider from a WorldTour team, you should not be satisfied.


"I certainly was one of the better riders in the race. I jumped into the break and I closed gaps to let come to a sprint, but Roompot had other plans. But this is definitely a missed opportunity. I showed in the bunch sprint that I was the fastest. Both for myself and for the team, this could be an additional victory. But that is not the case. We can also not use it as excuse that we had to make the race. This week we have not made it. As a team we have not performed well. But first we need a conversation on the bus.”


Bad luck for One Pro Cycling Danes in Drenthe

The plan for the day for ONE was to be conservative in the early stages of the race, close down any early moves, watch out for crosswinds and stay in a good position going into the final three efforts up the ‘Coll du Vamberg’ and the entry into the finishing circuit.


From the word go, the peloton was active and jostling for position. This was evident when Karol Domagalski needed a bike change only 5km into the race when another rider rode into the back of him. Through the initial chaos on the narrow country lanes, ONE Pro Cycling held their position as individual riders started to nip of the front forming a small break of 6. The pace continued to escalate and the peloton were on edge as they entered the cobbles, reeling in the breakaway group bringing it all back together once more.


105km into the race and nearing the end of the cobbles, Sebastian Lander was brought down in a heavy crash, battered and bruised he didn’t make it back into the race and was forced to retire. Shortly after, Martin Mortensen had a lucky escape, narrowly avoiding being taken down in another crash as the rider behind slammed into him requiring a bike change with only 3km to go to the final 3 ascents.


The pace continued to increase as the chaos unfolded but with a big effort Mortensen managed to get back into position in the peloton. Reaching the final climb the peloton split in half, Mortensen managed to make the split as the rest of the team were caught in the group behind. Taking to the front in the chase group, ONE Pro Cycling began to close the gap. On the finishing circuit just before the gap was bridged, the front half of the peloton split again quickly gaining 40 seconds going into the final 7.9km lap. Unable to close it down ONE Pro Cycling got into position to set Chris Opie up for the sprint which he won taking 21st position overall while the remaining riders finished safely behind.


It was an unfortunate day for the team with a number of crashes and bike changes adding to the difficulties of the terrain and narrow lanes. The team will rest up tonight before making their way back to Belgium for Nokere and Handzame next week.


Novo Nordisk get classics experience in Drenthe

“This was my first time racing at the Ronde van Drenthe and I have heard so much about this race and the paves,” Novo Nordisk’s Charles Planet said. “It was a tough race, narrow roads, freezing cold and very fast on the final circuits. I tried to work for my teammates as much as possible and learn what I could from this type of racing.”



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