In the slipstream of top sprinters Mark Cavendish (Etixx-Quick Step), Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and Elia Viviani (Sky) was Tom Van Asbroeck (LottoNL-Jumbo), who fell just short of the podium in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. The 24-year-old sprinter regretted losing his teammate's wheel in the final kilometres but he was pleased to be able to fight against the best sprinters of the world.
After taking a shower in the team bus the 2014 winner of the UCI Europe Tour first greeted his wife and baby before talking to the media. He seemed to enjoying mixed emotions.
"If you see who's ahead of me then you have to be pleased. Those guys are stronger and have more experience than me. The experience made the difference," Van Asbroeck said. "The last local lap was a team effort. The team kept me completely out of the wind and towards the front. I lost the wheel of Wagi [Robert Wagner]. That cost energy because I was forced to ride into the wind to the front. That was a costly mistake, it turns out."
After tackling the hills a large breakaway group of 19 riders - which included LottoNL-Jumbo riders Sep Vanmarcke and Maarten Wynants - powered away but when approaching the two-laps in Kuurne the team decided to support their Belgian sprinter in the bunch sprint and he was delighted with the confidence the team put in him. After a very successful 2014 season Van Asbroeck moved over to the Dutch team from Topsport Vlaanderen.
"I feel super in this team. I haven't regretted the switch for a single moment. There's a great atmosphere, top support, top equipment. It's all perfectly taken care of. For example today, I discussed tactics with Sep. If he was good he wanted to launch another attack but in the end it turned out not to be the best circumstances for that. Sep decided to ride in my support. It's a massive honour that someone like him does that for me. The whole team... I turn emotional to find out that these big names want to do that for someone like me. I've got a lot of work ahead of me but in this team I'm receiving the opportunity to develop. We take it step by step. Every year we're trying to get to the next level."
Next on the schedule of Van Asbroeck are the three-days of West-Flanders, Milan-San Remo, Gent-Wevelgem and Scheldeprijs.
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