Success for British Team in Belgium

1-2 for Mark Donovan and Tom Pidcock (Zappi team) in the  prestigious Aubel-Thimister-Stavelot UCI 2.1 Junior Stage Race 

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Success for British Team in Belgium

Team Press Release

The ZAPPI Junior Racing team travelled to Liege, in Belgium, last weekend to participate in the 51st Edition of the prestigious Aubel-Thimister-Stavelot UCI 2.1 Junior Stage Race.

The Zappi team sent 5 riders to the race including Mark Donovan, winner of the IOM British National Series stage race, Jake Wright, Lewis Hartley, Harry Gillet and special guest Thomas Pidcock (current junior World Cyclo-Cross Champion). We also had Jacques Sauvagnarges riding for the Backstedt Junior Team.

The race included three very tough road stages and a team time trial covering a total distance of approximately 300km. The final stage featured many of the tough climbs of the World Tour Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic.

On stage 1 (Aubel—Aubel), Mark Donovan finished 11th in a leading group of 12 riders with Tom Pidcock 13th (22 seconds back). Lewis, Jake and Jacques all finished in the peloton at 37seconds with Harry just off the back.

On stage 2A (Thimister), The ZAPPI team won the Team Time Trial, the first time that a British team has won the TTT at this event. The team set the fastest time of 11:04 finishing around 10 seconds faster than the BTWIN AG2R feeder team putting Mark Donovan into the yellow jersey and placing Tom in 2nd overall!

The team set off with Harry Gillet taking the first turn out of the gate and Lewis Hartley taking the team to the bottom of the finishing hill on lap1, sacrificing their own times for the good of the team. Jake, Tom and Mark took over for the remaining two laps. Tom Pidcock rode a storming TT putting out massive efforts to ensure the team delivered a very fast time – we won!

On stage 2B (Thimister-Thimister), Mark needed to defend his jersey and he did a very good job in that task, riding in a break off the front of the race for most of the day. Ultimately, the break was reeled in and only ended up with a handful of seconds but Mark still managed to roll over the line in 5th place ahead of the chasing peloton. Lewis, Tom and Jacques all finished in the peloton in 48th, 49th and 55th position whist Jake and Harry both lost a fair chunk of time after being distanced over the bergs and getting caught behind crashes. Despite Tom not feeling great he still managed to maintain his 2nd position on GC.
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So, we arrived for stage 4 (Stavelot-Stavelot) and also the Queen stage with Mark in yellow and Tom in 2nd place. We were also leading the team classification.
The final stage included 7 GPMs or KOMs including the infamous Thier de Coo, covering over 97km of very hilly terrain.

We knew the course would suit Mark and we were relishing the prospect of both Mark and Tom fighting the rest of the remaining peloton (127 riders remaining from 170 starters). As the race progressed the peloton split into smaller and smaller groups and Mark ended up in a decisive break with 2 other riders, finishing the stage in 2nd place and taking the overall GC. Tom Pidcock finished in 4th place on the stage almost catching Mark’s group and securing 2nd place on GC.

Only 81 riders finished the final stage with Jacques, Jake and Lewis all finishing in 41st, 60th and 64th on GC, very commendable results for one of the hardest junior stage races in the world.

Unfortunately, we did lose the team classification on the final stage by 1 second to the Belgium Young Cycling Team but having taken the top two places on GC, we had a very happy team and very happy manager!

This is the first time a British rider has won the GC at Aubel and illustrates the strength in depth in the ZAPPI team and in the UK peloton. It was also great to have Flavio Zappi at the race to witness the success in the junior team and to bring his vibrant energy to the to the riders – thanks Flavio!

Results Summary…

Stage 1:
11 Mark Donovan
13 Tom Pidcock
35 Lewis Hartley
50 Jacques Sauvagnarges
53 Jake Wright
121 Harry Gillet

Stage 2A TTT:
1 Mark Donovan
2 Tom Pidcock
3 Jake Wright
35 Jacques Sauvagnarges
110 Lewis Hartley
141 Harry Gillet

Stage 2B:
5 Mark Donovan
48 Lewis Hartley
49 Tom Pidcock
55 Jacques Sauvagnarges
79 Jake Wright

Stage 3:
2 Mark Donovan
4 Tom Pidcock
49 Jacques Sauvagnarges
56 Jake Wright
74 Lewis Hartley

1 Mark Donovan
2 Tom Pidcock
41 Jacques Sauvagnarges
60 Jake Wright
64 Lewis Hartley



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