Wins for Ahmed Madan and the team
With a 4th place for Matej Mohoric at the E3 Saxo Bank Classic and the win in the team classification at the Volta a Catalunya, Team Bahrain Victorious scored a couple of strong results as of late. In addition Ahmed Madan wrote cycling history for Bahrain by winning the under23 ITT at the Asian championships.
One week after his spectacular win at Milano-Sanremo, Matej Mohoric lined up for the two Belgian Semiclassics E3 Saxo Bank Classic and Gent-Wevelgem as the captain of Team Bahrain Victorious. One year earlier the Slovenian national champion had shown that he knows how to ride and excel on cobblestones at the Eneco Tour. As for his support, Mohoric could count on enormously experienced riders such as Heinrich Haussler and Yukiya Arashiro and a selection of powerful riders such as Jasha Sütterlin, Kamil Gradek, Filip Maciejuk and Fred Wright. At the E3 Saxo Bank Classic, a first selection came with 66 kilometres to go when the race reached the hilly zone. A strong group jumped away from the peloton at the Eikenberg, bridged the gap to the day’s early breakaway and left them behind right away. With 45 kilometres to go the two teammates van Aert and Laporte made good use of the steep Paterberg to go solo, and from there these two extended their lead to over two minutes. Matej Mohoric rode a strong race and only had to let Stefan Küng jump away from the chase group on the very last kilometre, winning the following sprint of the chase group for 4th place.
Two days later Team Bahrain Victorious also made its presence felt at Gent-Wevelgem. With 100 kilometres to go the riders in red and black upped the pace of the peloton drastically. Despite losing one of its strong riders with Kamil Gradek due to a crash with 90 kilometres to go, Matej Mohoric made it into a select lead group of about 20 riders that had jumped away from the peloton with 60 kilometres to go. But this group was brought back, and a first decision came on the equally steep and narrow Kemmelberg climb. An attack from van Aert resulted in a strong six-rider group with Mohoric, but again this group was brought back by a first part of the peloton. Another attack with 25 kilometres to go proved to be decisive. Four riders went clear and despite having the help of Fred Wright, Mohoric and the first chase group could not get back to these riders who would sprint for the win soon after. With his win, Eritrean Biniam Girmay wrote cycling history. A few seconds later Matej Mohoric at least scored another top10 result, crossing the finish line in 9th as part of the first group of chasers.
On an admittedly smaller stage, Ahmed Madan wrote his personal chapter of cycling history. The 21-year-old is the first pro cyclist from Bahrain to ride in a team of the World Tour. At the Asian cycling championships held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan Madan confirmed that he’s improved a lot when riding against the clock. Just one day after the official presentation of MERIDA’s new TIME WARP TT DISC time trial bicycle that has been designed around hydraulic disc brakes and has plenty of clearance to mount tyres up to 28 mm wide, Madan rode this new bike in the under23 men’s ITT race at the Asian championships. Winning the race over a distance of 24 kilometres against strong competitors from countries such as Kazakhstan, Iran and Uzbekistan, he crowned himself as Asian champion - and put Bahrain on the map of global cycling firmly. From the very start, this has been one of the core objectives of the kingdom of Bahrain upon entering pro cycling as the title sponsor of the World Tour team Bahrain Victorious.
As for the Volta a Catalunya, Team Bahrain Victorious went through an emotional rollercoaster: Shortly after having sprinted to 2nd at the end of the first stage, Sonny Colbrelli collapsed at the finish. After a first emergency treatment, he was brought to Girona’s University hospital where no cardial dysfunctions could be found. Despite this shock, the riders in red and black produced a series of strong results in the following days: Phil Bauhaus sprinted to 2nd in both the second and the fifth stage, and Wout Poels scored a 4th and a 6th place respectively at the two mountaintop finishes in between. Unfortunately, both Bauhaus and Poels were forced to abandon the race during the final stage due to illness. But with Dylan Teuns, Hermann Pernsteiner and Santiago Buitrago the remaining three riders of Team Bahrain Victorious filled the gap and rode courageously. Buitrago even attacked on his own and only was brought back on the steepest slopes of the Montjuic climb. Dylan Teuns scored another top5 result by sprinting to 5th place in the last stage, but most importantly Team Bahrain Victorious managed to not only win the team classification but extend its lead on the final day of the race.
101ST VOLTA A CATALUNYA, TEAM CLASSIFICATION:
1. Team Bahrain Victorious, BHR, in 89:46.49 hours
2. UAE - Team Emirates, UAE, + 6.35
3. Groupama-FDJ, FRA, + 7.18
ASIAN CYCLING CHAMPIONSHIPS: DUSHANBE, TAJIKISTAN
ITT UNDER23 MEN, 24 KILOMETRE:
1. Ahmed Madan, BHR, in 29.25 minutes
2. Aleksey Fomovskyi, UZB, + 0.38
3. Aidin Aliyari, IRN, + 1.41