Joris Nieuwenhuis finished in 9th place at the Antwerp Port Classic today, after riding the final 15 kilometres of the race with a broken handlebar after a crash.
It was a hectic day out in Belgium for Development Team Sunweb today, with cobbled and dirt sections providing almost no rest bite throughout the race. Heading into the finale of the day the peloton had split into multiple groups with the day’s terrain doing it’s job of reducing the bunch. After strong positioning by team mate Jens Vanoverberghe, Joris Nieuwenhuis went away with a group of favourites, chasing the breakaway riders up the road.
Joris lost contact with the group due to a crash, but continued to ride the finale with broken handlebars, never giving up with his chase back to the group of favourites. The day concluded with one rider taking the win solo with the larger chase group coming home close behind. Joris finished the day inside the top 10, a solid result after a finale with difficult circumstances.
Joris said: “It was an epic day. The cobbles and gravel roads just kept coming and we had to focus on pushing and positioning through the whole day. After every ‘strook’ some riders were dropped and in the end the bunch was reduced to lots of small groups. I was in the front group and there were only two riders in front of us, but I didn’t have the punch anymore when van Aert kept pushing at the front. I came back a few times but then it was over. I rode the last 10 kilometres on my own and managed to keep my place in the top 10. I’m pretty happy with the shape I have now since I haven’t rode a lot on the road this year. I want to thank my teammates for protecting me in the beginning and helping me with the bidons and the food.”
Team Sunweb coach Koen de Haan said: “The entire race was hectic, as soon as we left the harbour there were continuous dirt and cobbled sections, with minimal time to recover in between. Joris did a really good job today and was always in the front as much as possible and Jens was great to be with the bunch and helping Joris as much as he did. When the group of favourites went Joris followed, but he crashed and broke his handlebar, losing contact with the group. He was chasing alone for the last 15 kilometres but didn’t give up. It was a great effort from him to take a result like this after some bad luck in the final.”