WiV SunGod opened their 2022 ‘Low Countries’ campaign with their 4th appearance at the UCI 1.1 Grand Prijs Jean-Pierre Monseré on Sunday 6th March. Jean-Pierre Monseré was born in Roeselare in 1948 and was crowned World Road Race Champion when it was hosted in Leicester in 1970. He died after collision with a car at the GP de Retie, Belgium early the following year whilst preparing for the Milan-San Remo ‘monument’.
- Team car courtesy of Charters Peugeot of Aldershot
The 203km course of 4 loops around Hooglede and Roeselare contained 15 short climbs and 8 sections of cobbles over many narrow roads. Although providing a clear sunny day, the cold easterly cross-winds added to the physical challenges and risk of the inevitable crashes.
- Rory Townsend on the cobbles
A strong field included 6 WorldTeams, 7 ProTeams and 12 Continental teams. WiV SunGod were represented by Gruffudd Lewis, Ben Perry, Jacob Scott, Rob Scott, Matthew Teggart, Rory Townsend and Ollie Wood. Directeur Sportifs were Tim Elverson and Simon Holt. The team were sporting their full WiV SunGod kit supplied by Sportful with their white-background team name sash helping to identify the riders from the other teams clad in blue.
Historically, the race has ended in a sprint finish so it was important to place a rider in the day’s breakaway to relieve the pressure on the rest of the team’s riders. Rob Scott, who never lacks ambition when aiming to make it into a breakaway, got away with 5 other riders for over 100km gaining valuable publicity for the team’s sponsors.
- The 6-man breakaway
The breakaway established a maximum lead that peaked at nearly 6 minutes, with the strongest teams such as Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl holding the gap to the breakaway and protecting their team sprinters for the race finale.
- Rob Scott rode strongly in the breakaway
The escapees were caught with around 60 km to go and on one of the climbs on the last lap the field split with only 38 riders making the front group including Ollie Wood and Jacob Scott. A number of late attacks forged small gaps, but with a sprint likely, teams spared no effort when it came to chasing down these moves.
- Arnaud De Lie takes the win
With the support of 3 Lotto Soudal lead-out riders, emerging 19-year-old Belgian Arnaud De Lie took the sprint win from Dries de Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix) and Hugo Hofstetter (Arkea Samsic). Wood hung on as best as possible to the other team’s sprint trains to gain 13th place with Jacob Scott 8 seconds behind in 29th.
- Top finisher Ollie Wood in 13th place
Hampered by a hand injury suffered on route, Townsend was next home in 49th place at 2min 1sec with Perry 58th in the same group. Rob Scott was 75th, Teggart 77th and Lewis DNF.
A tough day out for the team with Ollie Wood impressing with his hard-earned 13th.
All pictures: Hugh McManus
Report by Paul & Marina Stedman