Gatto won the sprint from a small chasing group, which finished 52 seconds behind the race winner, Belgian rider Greg Van Avermaet.
In next two groups Astana Team had two more riders: Matti Breschel, 19th, and Michael Valgren, 30th.
- Today, we have opened the classic season and I think we did a good debut. Oscar Gatto took a solid 5th place and our team got some important WorldTour points. In general, all guys did well today. In a moment, when the tension in the race started increasing, the peloton was smashed down by a huge crash. A few riders of Astana Team, Truls, Ruslan, Laurens were involved too. Fortunately, they could continue the race. In that moment we had Andriy Grivko in front, while later three more riders joined the leading group – Oscar Gatto, Matti Breschel and Michael Valgren. Also, Arman Kamyshev did a good job supporting the leaders. In the final, three riders broke away to play the victory. Oscar was in the next chasing group, he did a good race. Inside the last km Felline attacked for 4th place, while Oscar won the sprint for 5th. For our team it was important to do a good start here in Belgium and we succeed, - said sports director Lars Michaelsen.
A huge massive crash in the peloton had a big impact over the race with a lot of riders from different teams involved. Truls Korsaeth, Ruslan Tleubayev and Laurens De Vreese were in that crash, but did not get any serious injure. So, tomorrow, they will start at the Kuurne – Bruxelles – Kuurne.
Photo credit: © Bettiniphoto