Matej Mohoric wins the Binck Bank Tour
Thanks to an equally smart and powerful performance, Matej Mohoric won the overall of the seven-stage Binck Bank Tour. With this win, the young Slovene scored the 4th World Tour victory of the season for the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM. On the same day, Niccolo Bonifazio sprinted to a 10th place at Hamburg’s Cyclassics.
Consisting of three mostly flat stages, a flat individual time trial, a slightly hilly stage and two stages in the Ardennes and held in both the Netherlands and Belgium, the Binck Bank Tour favoured versatile riders. The BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM opted to ride for Matej Mohoric as its designated leader for the overall rather than bringing a pure sprinter. As support for the young Slovene, the team fielded Borut Bozic, Yukiya Arashiro, Manuele Boaro, David Per, Luka Pibernik and Ramunas Navardauskas. But Arashiro was forced to abandon after the first stage after having fractured his right elbow in a crash early on in stage 1. As for the bunch sprint at the end of that first stage, no rider in red, gold and dark blue tried his luck, and on the next day, Mohoric was the best-placed rider of the team in the time trial, limiting his loss to the day’s winner Stefan Küng to 58 seconds.
Things took a turn to the better on the third stage when Matej Mohoric made it into the group of the day. Due to all the turns and corners in the finale, the peloton misjudged the situation and thus the five attackers could go for the stage win. While Mohoric kept out of that fight, he took over the green overall leader’s jersey. On the next day, he managed to expand his lead from one to three seconds at the intermediate sprints. As for the fifth stage, the peloton made a wrong calculation again, handing the stage win to the day’s attackers. From there the final two stages were to decide the fight for the overall standings, with the sixth stage looking like a small Amstel Gold Race and the final stage containing many elements of the Ronde van Vlaanderen. As Ramunas Navardauskas was forced to abandon due to health issues during the penultimate stage, the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM was down to five riders for the decisive two stages.
Throughout these final two days, Mohoric fended off countless attacks - first with the help of his teammates and later on in the finale on his own. Still, he kept a cool head and managed to secure the overall victory at the Binck Bank Tour, the winning margin being a scant five seconds. On the same day the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM rode the one-day race Cyclassics in Hamburg, fielding a team that was ready for both a bunch sprint or a lead-group going the full distance: For a sprint decision the team relied on Sonny Colbrelli and Niccolo Bonifazio while Grega Bole and Ivan Cortina were candidates to win from a smaller group. Riding in their support were Valerio Agnoli, Kristijan Koren and Antonio Nibali. For most of the race, Ivan Cortina was part of a five-rider lead-group that was caught with 15 kilometers to go. Since Colbrelli had lost contact to the first group, it was up to Bonifazio to contest the bunch sprint, and he crossed the finish line in 10th.
14. BINCK BANK TOUR
FINAL OVERALL STANDINGS:
1. Matej Mohoric, SVN/BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM, in 25:13.01 hours
2. Michael Matthews, AUS, + 0.05
3. Tim Wellens, BEL, + 0.20