Wisniowski seals second at Omloop

24 Feb 2018

Wisniowski seals second at Omloop

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Lukasz Wisniowski battled to second at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad after a gutsy ride in the opening Classic of the season.

The Pole hung tough over the final two climbs in Belgium having made it across to the lead group, before pushing clear in the closing kilometre to seal second behind solo winner Michael Valgren (Astana).

Valgren picked the perfect moment to attack in the final stages and nobody from the elite front group was able to bring the Dane back. Sep Vanmarcke (Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale) set off in pursuit but Wisniowski managed to get on terms with the Belgian and beat him to second ahead of the chasing peloton, who rolled over the line moments later.

Owain Doull sprinted to an impressive 11th from the bunch, with Dylan van Baarle also rolling in as part of the peloton.

The opening Classic of 2018 kept threatening to explode in the final 60km but nobody was able to spark the decisive breakaway until the race hit the famous Muur van Geraardsbergen 20km from the finish.

It was there that a group was able to finally forge clear and initially it looked as though there was no Team Sky representative in the selection, before Wisniowski fought across from behind.

Then it was time to climb the equally tough Bosberg - the 13th and final climb of the 196km race - and Wisniowski fought hard to stay on the back of the group, ahead of the cat and mouse run to the line.

A number of riders tried to go clear as the kilometres ticked down, while the peloton continued to close in from behind. Vanmarke and Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step Floors) both attempted to slip away, but it was Valgren who chose the perfect moment to go.
Lukasz Wisniowski

Lukasz Wisniowski

This year I feel like I'm in really good condition... I'm really happy with the result.
Speaking to TeamSky.com after the race, a delighted Wisniowski was quick to thank his teammates for their help.

He said: “For a long time I’ve not had a top three finish in a race and I’d like to thank all my teammates that helped me earn this result.
“I felt in the Algarve last week that I was in good shape, so what I needed today was some good luck and to have a good day and finally I was second, so I'm really happy about that!
“It’s my third year riding the Classics. I knew that I needed more time to get to know the roads and improve my conditioning and this year I feel like I'm in really good condition. We did a good recon, so I knew the roads, and I'm really happy with the result.”

Van Baarle had started the day as the team’s leader and looked well placed heading on to the Muur, but he was unable to follow the stinging attacks towards the top part of the climb.

Earlier he'd battled back to the peloton after an unfortunate rear wheel puncture with 60km to go and he remained to the fore until the Muur, alongside Doull and Wisniowski.

Chris Lawless, Christian Knees, Jon Dibben and Michal Golas all performed strong team roles and will all be set to go again tomorrow at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.

Sport Director Servais Knaven was full of praise for Wisniowski and explained that Van Baarle's untimely puncture made it hard for him to compete.
Servais Knaven

Servais Knaven

It's a fantastic result for Lukasz. He rode really well in Algarve, working for the team, and today he had his own result.
The Dutchman said: “It's a fantastic result for Lukasz. He rode really well in Algarve, working for the team, and today he had his own result which is really great for him and great for the team - a good start to the season.

“He was maybe not the one that everyone expected, as Dylan was our leader, but he had some bad luck at an unfortunate moment [with a puncture].
“He fought back to the front but it’s not easy. He expended a lot of energy, but he was still there in the final metres, and it gave an opportunity to Lukasz to try something."

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad result

1. Michael Valgren (Astana) 
2. Lukasz Wisniowksi (Team Sky) +12"
3. Sep Vanmarcke (Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale) s.t.
4. Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo)
5. Phillipe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors)