Bol takes Sunweb's first victory of the season at Nokere

Team Sunweb's Cees Bol took victory after a chaotic and crash-strewn sprint finish at the Danilith Nokere Koerse in Belgium on Wednesday, and with it his WorldTour team's first win of the season.

That first win had been some time in coming for the German team, although it wasn't that dissimilar to last season, when at this point the squad had only one victory under their belt – a stage win at the Abu Dhabi Tour, thanks to Phil Bauhaus – but then went on to take 11 wins in total in 2018.

Sunweb had started Wednesday's Nokere Koerse with only five riders out of a permitted seven, but acquitted themselves well in the hope of setting Bol up for a sprint finish.

The team was still able to win despite losing Australian Jai Hindley to a crash during the race, while Max Walscheid also hit the deck in the last few kilometres while working for Bol.

"Starting with five guys, the plan was always to stay calm and be there in the crucial moments and we did that well," Bol said on the team's website after his win.

"With around two-and-a-half kilometres to go, we took the front with Max and Asbjørn [Kragh Andersen], with me behind, and I had the perfect run-in to the line. It was a really good job from the guys, and I'm super happy to have had the legs to finish it off for them: it was a team win," said the 23-year-old Dutchman, who joined the team this season from SEG Racing Academy.

Team coach Arthur van Dongen added that, despite the squad's reduced number of starters, the day's plan was followed to the letter.

"We unfortunately only started with five riders, but we had a clear plan for the day and everyone was focused on doing their job," he said. "From the start, we were always going to ride for a sprint with Cees, and it was great to see everyone work well together to make that happen.

"It was a strong performance from the whole team throughout the day, and it's nice to finally get the first win under the belt."

Second-placed Pascal Ackermann, of Bora-Hansgrohe, was disappointed not to be able to take the win, but admitted that Bol had been the better rider.

"It was a super hard race," the German road race champion said on the Bora team website. "I opened up my sprint too early, and therefore didn't have enough power in the end. However, I'm satisfied with my performance.

"Congratulations to Cees Bol. He was simply the fastest today. We had a really strong team today, and we rode on the front for almost the whole race. I actually didn't know about several of the crashes that occurred, and I think that we had a bit of luck today, which helped us to avoid them."

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