The reason for Team3M to participate in this 2-days stage-race was to prove the progress made by the riders individually and as a team since the start of the season. The goals were: winning a stage, win the overall and be the best team.
The selection: Gerry DRUYTS, Egidijus JUODVALKIS, Joren SEGERS, Timothy STEVENS, Stef VAN ZUMMEREN and Tim VANSPEYBROECK.
Day 1, Stasegem – Stasegem
With a good wind, Team3M made the race hard from the startgun. The team planned several attacks in the beginning to make the other good teams work. All this worked out well and after the second climb Gerry Druyts and one other rider started the major attack, soon joined by 16 other riders (including our Tim Vanspeybroeck). This group was up the road for the rest of the race. The other Team3M riders made sure no other counter-attack could taken place. The group of Gerry and Tim had a max gap of 1 minute. In the local laps, Tim and 3 other riders attacked from that lead group and stayed away.
Tim sprinted second, Gerry won the sprint of the chasers (5th) and Timothy won the bunch sprint (20). That gave Team3M a 2nd podium place and the prize of second best team.
Day 2, Deerlijk – Deerlijk
With only 4 sec from the leader and all riders feeling good, Team3M obviously was going for victory today. As planned, Team3M led a little group with riders that would not endanger the General Classification. As soon as that group of 7 was gone Team3M took literally leadership by placing all 6 riders at the very front to control till the Oude Kwaremont. There the entire team would accelerate and rip the peloton apart. Stef Van Zummeren punctured right after the Oude Kwaremont and lost touch with the main group. Also Joren Segers lost contact since he worked very hard the first 2 hours.
Team3M went into the final with 4 riders in a group of 57. At the last hill, Tim attacked with two other strong riders, but those 3 never got more than 12 seconds. From then on everybody knew it would end in a bunch sprint. Timothy, Gerry, Tim and Egidijus decided to go for Gerry. One km to go Tim brought the pace to over 60 km/hour, then Egidijus took over and the last 250 meters Timothy went full out to launch Gerry... Gerry got beaten with a wheel-length ... Team3m ended up second and third and as best team of the day.
Of course there was some disappointment since we got 2nd both days, but looking back we can say: Team3M MADE BIG PROGRESS AGAIN,
1st day: 2nd and 5th and second best team
2nd day: 2nd and 3rd and best team
Overall: 2nd and 5th and second best team