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“Laurent and Julien were always together, they did well and in the end I thought Julien was between 25 and 30 places, but he’s 43rd…okay, at least we can say that he took some experience for the future.”

Photo: Unipublic


16.09.2015 @ 23:22 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After five hours of enduring wet, miserable weather for the 198-kilometer Grand Prix de Wallonie, Trek Factory Racing’s new recruit Julien Bernard can lay claim to finishing a tough Ardennes-style Belgian race in some of the harshest conditions and gaining experience the hard way.


There was no easing into the race Wednesday for the former stagiaire who recently penned a deal with the team: the rain fell at the start and hammered down five hours later at the finish. In between, there were numerous crashes on the slick, narrow Belgian roads, and when the rain did ease the winds increased; it was vintage Belgian racing.


“Julien was the best of the team, and in the end he missed experience, “explained director Alain Gallopin. “It was 200 kilometers in full, full rain. Eugenio [Alafaci] was in the big crash near the end, but he is okay. Calvin [Watson] stopped at the feed zone, and Eugenio and Kristof [Vandewalle] stopped after the crash.


"We knew that we did not have a finisher here, so our plan was to try and get into the breakaway at the start, and then maybe do something with Laurent Didier or Julien Bernard at the end. 


“There’s not too much to say. If we could have Fabio Felline here or Giacomo [Nizzolo] – by the way he finished 4th in Coppa Agostoni today [Nizzolo was racing for the Italian national team – ed] – it would be different, but with the level I had here there was not much more we could do.”


Bernard was the highest finisher for the team in 43rd place, hanging in with the peloton until the series of uphills in the final kilometers separated the strongest, most experienced - and luckiest - from the rest. 


With eight kilometers remaining the peloton had sculpted to nine leaders. From this group, Lotto-Soudal’s Jens Debusschere launched the winning move with just under one kilometer to go on the famous climb to the citadel in Namur. Fabio Silvestre (57th) and Laurent Didier (80th) also completed the race for Trek Factory Racing


“Laurent and Julien were always together, they did well," continued Gallopin, “and in the end I thought Julien was between 25 and 30 places, but he’s 43rd…okay, at least we can say that he took some experience for the future.”



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