Plugge and Van Dongen in unison after Omloop: "It speaks volumes about the leader and star that Wout van Aert is" Cycling

Plugge and Van Dongen in unison after Omloop: "It speaks volumes about the leader and star that Wout van Aert is"

Plugge and Van Dongen in unison after Omloop: "It speaks volumes about the leader and star that Wout van Aert is"

Visma | Lease a Bike demonstrated in Saturday's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (with Jan Tratnik as the winner) that the team is not to be trifled with this spring. The Dutch squad had the race under control throughout, also stated head sports director Arthur van Dongen and team manager Richard Plugge, who expressed their satisfaction in a conversation with after the race.

"Jan celebrated his birthday yesterday and finished it off fantastically here. This is a very nice present for him. He himself also said: the older the wine, the better it gets," laughs Plugge, who is more than pleased with the victory of the experienced Slovenian. "He's a very kind and helpful man, who pays attention to everyone. Normally, he does a lot of work for others, and that's why I'm especially happy that he can win here. He's also someone who always stands up when we need him, so in the background, he's also a leader. He's a team player, and an incredibly strong one at that. We're very happy with him."

From the very start, Visma | Lease a Bike took control of the race. "I think we, along with Lidl-Trek and INEOS Grenadiers, really surprised everyone by breaking open the race. Eventually, we broke away with 23 men, forcing the rest to work hard early on to catch up. Half a minute is really a lot to close down, it takes serious power and a lot of energy. Thanks to those other teams, we were able to put the rest under pressure," Plugge thanked his colleagues from Germany and Great Britain.

Eventually, Matteo Jorgenson, Wout van Aert, and Christophe Laporte got ahead in a group of six, which looked like it might make it to the end. "Christophe and Wout also tried and didn't get the space that Matteo did. Ultimately, he just didn't make it over the Bosberg, but if he had, I would have liked to see what happened next." Everything then came back together, after which Tratnik took advantage. "It's the advantage of our team, having so many men riding behind. Wout then wins the sprint, and maybe Christophe could have done it too, so he can also take a gamble. That's part of it," Plugge stated.

jan tratnik

Plugge and Van Dongen praise Van Aert

"The way we've done it now is the game we want to play. Dylan and Jan were mostly in between the others, which made them among the freshest riders when everyone came back together," said Plugge, who also had special words of thanks for Van Aert. "Wout did a great job, exactly as planned. That just shows he's well on his way to hitting peak form, while he himself impressively took third place."

Van Dongen, the team director in the first car, also had high praise for the Belgian. "Wout immediately shouted into the radio during Tratnik's attack: "It's for you, Jan," when they broke away together. That obviously gave him a lot of confidence and morale, hearing that over the radio. It highlights the quality of our leader and star Wout, who then also sprinted to third place."

The sports director could only look back with satisfaction. "The tactic was to break open the race, which we also did last year. That way, we could put some of the favorites on the back foot, so everything went according to plan. We kept attacking, and this is the result, with Wout still as a trump card. Perfect. These plans were all discussed beforehand. It was no surprise to anyone what we were going to do. We anticipate as much as possible, it's all clear," said Van Dongen.

Yet, he also felt a bit of tension in the car as Tratnik and Nils Politt entered the final kilometer together. "We had confidence in Jan, but it still had to be done. With Politt, it was a bit of a case of making long pulls, so we were confident that Jan could finish it off. He might not have been completely fresh anymore, but he was in very good shape. And that brought us the victory."


Place comments



More comments

You are currently seeing only the comments you are notified about, if you want to see all comments from this post, click the button below.

Show all comments

More Cycling News