The town of Lanniliz hosted the 33rd Tro Bro Leon. 132 riders rolled out at 11.30 local time for the 203km race that would take them over farm tracks, gravel roads and even a small section of beach.
The front of the peloton was very active from the off with several attacks going away but all failing to stay clear.
Hitting the first section of gravel roads after 62km the peloton became extremely strung out and saw some riders distanced immediately. It had been noted that section 4 was a particularly bad sector and as the peloton battled for position Martin Mortensen came down in a heavy crash affecting several riders, whilst Martin was re-mounting and chasing through the cars Hayden McCormick had found himself in a front group of 15 riders.
After around 20km in the breakaway the peloton re-grouped but Pete Williams was on his toes establishing himself in a group of 14 riders at 108km of racing. That breakaway was allowed no more than 30 seconds before being closed down by a peloton nervous to let anything go.
Almost immediately Dion Smith found himself in a new breakaway that formed again being allowed no more than 30 seconds. As Dion’s group was about to be caught he suffered a rear wheel puncture, luckly Seb Lander was on hand to pass him a wheel quick as within 10 seconds Martin Mortensen also suffered a puncture to which the team car dealt with.
With Dion and Martin now both chasing through the convoy to regain Hayden McCormick and Pete Williams both slipped up into the new breakaway after 13 sections. 18 men in total were in this group with 159km of racing covered.
Heading into the final hour of racing and with 32km remaining Dion Smith rode across to the front of the race to join his team mates up the road, making a 21 man group.
This was a little big for the peloton and they quickly rode it down meaning the race situation was all back together with around 40 riders in the peloton. Feeling strong ONE Pro Cycling force another move at the front with Martin Mortensen and Pete Williams creating a breakaway of around 10 riders. This group held the peloton at 30 seconds as the race headed into the closing stages.
Mortensen launched a solo attack with 18km remaining and was looking strong, he was joined after a couple of kilometres by two chasing riders creating a lead group of 3 with the seven chasers including Williams just 15 seconds behind. With just 5km to go Mortensen again attacked his breakaway companions and held them at just 8 seconds for the next couple of kilometres. The two chasers clawed there way back up to Martin with just 2km remaining as the riders tackled the last sector of gravel road.
A tactical battle ensued with no rider wanting to waste too much energy as they headed into the finish. With the finish line ahead of them the riders were still battling for position as the remains of the breakaway were clawing there way back to the front. Pete Williams who had been policing the chase group jumped out of the group as Martin Mortensen started his sprint, accelerating away from the two riders that had accompanied him in the breakaway.
Mortensen crossing the line arms aloft whilst teammate Pete Williams raced home to take 2nd. The result is ONE Pro Cycling’s best UCI result to date a 1-2 after a fantastic day of racing a really strong showing by the team.
Commenting after the race Sports Director Matt Winston said, “I said to the boys this morning to go out, race hard and close to the front the whole way through and enjoy the event. Its not often you get to race like this with farm tracks, gravel roads…just head out and have some fun. That is what they certainly did and it was a massively proud moment for me to see the team with a 1-2”