Trek-Segafredo came into Omloop Het Nieuwsblad full of confidence and boasting a squad that contained former winner Jasper Stuyven, Mads Pedersen and Edward Theuns but the team were left empty-handed with their top finisher, Stuyven, only managing 40th place. Pedersen, who finished second in last year's Tour of Flanders finished outside the top ten, while Ryan Mullen and Theuns worked hard but just finished outside the top 50.
As Deceuninck-QuickStep topped the podium through Zdenek Stybar, and crowds flocked to the blue and white bus to join in the celebrations, the mood outside the Trek-Segafredo bus was the polar opposite.
Requests for rider interviews were rebuffed and it was left to director sportif Steven de Jongh to front up and deliver an honest reflection of his team's performance.
"Today wasn't good. That's obvious. When the race really exploded on the Molenberg and the big favourites went, our guys showed that they didn't have the level to follow and that was clear to see," De Jongh told Cyclingnews.
"That was disappointing and I'm a bit afraid for the next races because the level that's here and showed by other teams means our riders need to step up big time in the next races."
Trek-Segafredo still have Paris-Roubaix winner John Degenkolb waiting in the wings, with the German currently training in Spain. However, the lack of results in Omloop from the core of the Classics team is a genuine concern for De Jongh, who on the eve of the race told Cyclingnews that the team had the talent to win a Classic.
"I'm surprised. I expected a lot better from them. The atmosphere on the bus, I think they wanted a lot more. That was a real smack in the face. We'll climb up and prepare for the next races but we can be worried," De Jongh said.
"At the moment we didn't say much. I spoke to some of them and they've said sorry for their performances and that they didn't have it. I'm not going to put names on there but we all know who our leaders were today. They've said they didn't have it today and that was honest from them. I think tonight some of them won't have a good night and then tomorrow they'll try and show something different."
The Classics come thick and fast over the next few weeks. On Sunday, the team will race Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne before focusing their attention on Paris-Nice, Tirreno Adriatico and then Milan-San Remo and the rest of the cobbled season. Momentum is key but De Jongh added that there was still time to turn the campaign around.
"There's time but not for this weekend. There's still Tirreno and Milan-San Remo, so there's a window left where they can improve and let's hope that happens. Tomorrow we'll cross fingers."
Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*
Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets
After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59
Join now for unlimited access
Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1