Great Britain’s Owain Doull avoided a finish line pile-up to take fourth at the U23 Tour of Flanders in Oudenaarde on Saturday.
The 20 year-old Welshman was well placed coming into the chaotic sprint at the end of the 165km opening round of the U23 Nations Cup but couldn’t overhaul Dylan Groenewegen (Netherlands), who took the victory ahead of Kristoffer Skjerping (Norway) and Tiesj Benoot (Belgium).
“It would have been nice to have been on the podium, I think I had the legs,” said Doull, who placed 13th at the same race last year in support of Simon Yates.
“I went early in the sprint but there was bit of a headwind, so I got pipped.”
Doull continued a run of good results that saw him last week win one stage and the overall at the 2.2 ranked Triptyque des Monts et Chateaux in France.
“My form is good, the team are riding well, and it was nice to survive the chaos,” the AnPost-Chain Reaction team rider added. “There were five crashes in the first five kilometres, or something silly like that.”
Doull’s Great Britain teammate Tao Geoghegan Hart too made the select front group in his first U23 race on European soil but was caught behind the fast paced crash with 150m to go and finished 18th.
The race, which featured 14 climbs of Flanders' famous bergs, also marked U23 Nations Cup debuts for former Olympic Development Programme riders Scott Davies and Chris Lawless, while support also came from Ali Slater and Jon Dibben.
Great Britain’s U23 riders will head to two further Nations Cup rounds this week; the Cote Picarde in France on Wednesday April 16 before the ZLM Toer in the Netherlands on Saturday April 19.
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Richard Abraham is an award-winning writer, based in New Zealand. He has reported from major sporting events including the Tour de France and Olympic Games, and is also a part-time travel guide who has delivered luxury cycle tours and events across Europe. In 2019 he was awarded Writer of the Year at the PPA Awards.
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