Israel Start-Up Nation put on a strong team performance to set up Hugo Hofstetter for the sprint in the Belgian one-day race Oxyclean Classic Brugge-De Panne.
At the start of the day, many were worried that the wind would play a factor on the local laps in De Panne, where the exposed areas around De Moeren have previously blown races apart. However, today, the wind wasn’t strong enough to split up the peloton; instead, it all came down to a bunch sprint.
The ISN riders did well to position Hofstetter near the front on the final kilometer. The fast Frenchman found a good wheel but unfortunately, the rider in front of him clicked out of the pedal, leaving Hofstetter with too much ground to cover with just a couple of hundred meters left to go. In the end, he finished in sixth place, giving the team another top-10 in the Belgian classics this season.
Hugo Hofstetter: “There was a big fight for positions heading into the last couple of kilometers. I managed to get in a pretty good position, on the wheel of Démare, just before the last left-hand corner, and even though I had to do a little sprint afterward to close a gap, I still felt really good as we were about to start the sprint. When Démare launched his sprint, I was in the perfect position, but then he unclipped and I had to brake and re-start my sprint. From that moment on, it was over for me and I just tried to finish as high up in the classification as possible. It’s a shame because I feel that without that incident, I could have sprinted for the podium today.”