Irish rider Matthew Teggart sprinted to a fine 11th place at the Ronde van Vlaanderen Beloften (U23 Tour of Flanders) today, finishing in the group sprinting for second place. However, 22 year-old Teggart expressed his disappointment afterwards, as he felt he could have gotten a podium place at the Nations Cup race.
Teggart was part of the 25-man group who finished 6″ behind Australia’s James Whelan (Drapac EF Cycling) with Max Kanter (Development Team Sunweb) winning the sprint for second and Whelan’s Australian team-mate Robert Stannard (Mitchelton – BikeExchange) in third..
The riders faced seventeen categorised climbs during the 165.9-kilometre race which started and finished in Oudenaarde. Amongst the climbs the riders tackled were the Muur van Geraardsbergen, Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg.
The Irish team who were hoping to repeat Eddie Dunbar’s win last year were in the action from early on with Darragh O’Mahony going in an early break. Inside the last 60 kilometres, Dermot Trulock also made it into a dangerous 12-man break but these were brought back after the Paterberg.
Whelan made his winning move inside the final twenty kilometres with the race splitting significantly behind him. Teggart was attentive to the splits and was well to the fore coming towards the finish. However, he was blocked in the sprint for the line and finished in 11th. Daire Feeley and Conn McDunphy were the other Irish finishers, coming home in 61st and 68th places respectively.
When asked about the result afterwards, Teggart said: “I’m gutted to be honest! I was raging after the finish. I got squeezed in the last 200m and had to hit the brakes. I had super legs and was aiming for a podium finish!”
“I made a select group of 11 riders in the last 20 kilometres and we were only caught by a big group of chasers with 1km to go as we messed about before the sprint. It was all going so well until the last 200m but that’s bike racing. It’s a cruel sport.”