26 February 2022

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Matîs Louvel 14th

Matîs Louvel, who was in the group that chased in the final behind Wout Van Aert, escaped, crashed and was again in the front, finishes 14th in Ninove.

 

Photo Getty Images

Matîs Louvel

On the line

 

“I didn’t have a great feeling at the beginning of the race, I had a little bit of trouble to get into the classics and to keep my position, but once I was well in it, everything went smoothly for me. I went out on the counter-attack with about fifty kilometres to go, alone, I was going to catch the leading group, but unfortunately I fell in a corner. I didn’t hurt myself, I just slipped in a corner, so I was back in the peloton. When the decision was made on the ascent of the Mur and the Bosberg, the last climb, I managed to come back a bit. I still had good legs and I managed to follow the best riders. I was then satisfied because I knew that we could be on the podium, but I missed my sprint because I was badly placed, but also because I was afraid in the corners, I had lost some confidence. It’s a pity, but it’s still a nice day even if the result we were expecting is not there”.

Donavan Grondin

“It was a first for me to take part in the breakaway, it was a bit complicated when we arrived on the part with a headwind. With 45 kilometres to go, a group of riders that had started to counterattack came back to us. I had dropped a little bit on the climb of a mountain and when the three riders who came out of the peloton caught me, I caught their wheels and I was again in the lead. I dropped again in Haaghoek, the peloton was just behind and I threw all my last strength to try to replace my team-mates, I did the best I could but it was rubbing terribly at that moment”.

Sébastien Hinault, Sport-Director

The debrief

 

“We are left with a feeling of unfinished business, because I think that the team involved in this Het Nieuwsblad had the means to do better, much better, and right to the end, especially when we see that Matîs arrives in the group that is fighting for the second place, knowing his qualities as a finisher, he is better than this 14th place obtained at the finish. We say to ourselves that he is not in his place. After having talked to him after his crash, he got scared in this corner and then he didn’t dare to go and rub in the final, unfortunately he didn’t make the sprint, and we are left with this feeling of unfinished business, both of us. That’s what makes me the most angry, because we had a good group that was present at the foot of the Grammont, except for Clément who broke away at the worst moment of the race, and Donavan who rode most of the day in front. We were there in a position to do well, and frankly we were hoping for better than what we got, and we are not satisfied with that”.