Our team came close to another victory on the opening day of the race.
Three days after completing an extremely successful Vuelta a España, Deceuninck – Quick-Step was again in the thick of the action at a stage race, the 63rd edition of Okolo Slovenska, which rolled out early on Wednesday morning from Bardejov, a picturesque town situated in the hills of the Beskyd Mountains, for a 138.2km-long stage.
One of the most experienced pros out there, Iljo Keisse moved to the head of the bunch and controlled the six-man breakaway which took off soon after the start, together with delegates from other teams gradually reducing the gap that hit a maximum of three minutes and brought back the attackers inside the final ten kilometers.
The finish in Bardejov wasn’t a straightforward one, the cobblestones and uphill drag making things tricky and complicated, and disrupting the sprint trains. Alexander Kristoff (Team UAE Emirates) was the one who took advantage of this and prevailed, with the Deceuninck – Quick-Step duo of Michael Mørkøv and Elia Viviani rounding out the podium on this half-stage, which will be followed later today by a short individual time trial.
Photo credit: ©Photo Stancik