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Matthias Skilmoz (Lidl-Trek) won in dominant fashion the second edition of the Maryland Cycling Classic in Baltimore on Sunday. The Danish champion attacked from a five-runner front group with two laps remaining and crossed the line with just over two minutes in the chasing group.
First major selection came in the grueling race, made even more difficult by the sweltering temperatures, with 65 miles of the 121-mile race as the field split leaving around 35 riders in front. More aggressive racing led to a final group of six battling it out for victory at the first of four city circuits. The group also included Toms Skoggis (Lidl-Trek), Hugo Holly (Israel-Premier Tech), Nelson Pauwels (EF Education-EasyPost) and Lucas Hamilton (Jayco-AlUla).
Using the team’s numbers to their advantage, Skjelmose and Skujiņš launched multiple attacks until the Latvian managed to break free in the last 20 miles. Skjelmose waited for his moment to counter-move when his teammate stumbled and left everyone else behind.
Pauwels launched his 200m sprint to finish second, ahead of Holly. Hamilton finished fourth and Skogis held on to fifth.
“I am really happy. This race is really important for the Lidl-Trek team and winning here and showing great teamwork is really important to us and winning is really special,” Skjelmose said in a team statement.
“Thomas was very strong. I was very strong. I think both of us could have won. Toms made a good attack and I was just waiting for the right moment to attack,” Skilmose added. “As Toms said before the race, we were leading 1-2 the whole time, playing with each other well. In the end, the guys cracked when I attacked them one last time.
Pauwels, who finished third last year, did everything he could to get the win, but in the end, he was outnumbered.
“It turned out to be another tough day of racing in Baltimore,” said Pauwels. “There is something about this course that makes the racing very eclectic. I think it is more likely due to the heat and the hilly terrain in the countryside. But when we got to the finish it was just a slugfest.
“And yeah I was outpaced by a few of the other teams out there, Jayco and Trek both made it to the final circuit with two riders and I was on my own, but my team did a really good job. I think we really decided the race should be about the Pretty Boy tank. I think we were Who made that real first choice.And yes, I did better than last year, but unfortunately I was one place off the top flight.
How did it unfold
For its second edition, organizers have returned to the 121-mile (196 km) course that begins in Sparks, Maryland and includes four technical 7.5-mile (12 km) circuits in Baltimore’s famous Inner Harbor.
The attacks came from the start on the ever-rolling terrain but five riders – David Lozano (Novo Nordisk), Oscar Sevilla (Medellin-IBM), Kyle Murphy (L39ION of Los Angeles), Carson Miles (Toronto Hustle) and Julien Jani (Skyline) . He managed to escape early. Stephen Vogel (Project Echelon) soloed the bridge but gave up after a few miles. The five will see a three-minute gap before the court starts to draw them in.
Lozano and Sevilla battled it out for the first two KOMs with Lozano sprinting and eventually winning the King of Mountain jersey.
Under pressure from the EF Education-EasyPost team, the stadium crashed as they circled the Prettyboy Reservoir at 2,100 feet. With 70 miles to go, the break was made by a select group of about 35 runners.
More attacks continued as Israel Premier Tech tried to split the pack, leaving the 25 riders in front. The group included the Cofidis duo of Eddy Finé and Viktor Lafay, and the Lidl-Trek pair of Mattias Skjelmose and Toms Skujiņš and Lucas Hamilton and Simon Yates of Jayco-AlUla. Julian Jani (Skyline), Matthew Jorgenson (USA), Scott McGill (Human Powered Health), Carson Miles (Toronto Hustle), Kyle Murphy (L39ION of Los Angeles), Tyler Stites (Project Echelon), Lozano and Sevilla also did this. step. .
The aggressive racing continued with the riders shuffling and re-shuffling, with the group swelling to 35 at one point. The riders from Lidl-Trek and Jayco-AlUla continued to push the pace until the six of them split as they made their way to the first of four 7.5-mile city circuits.
The final selection included the Jayco-AlUla duo of Chris Harper and Hamilton, the Lidl-Trek pair of Skjelmose and Skuijns, and Powless and Hugo Houle (Israel-Premier Tech). The six had a one-minute gap on the chasers as they saw four laps to go. Behind them, the chase was on but no contact was ever made.
With three laps to go, the six riders at the front continued to work together as the gap between them was around 45 seconds. Harper was the first to feel pressure and drop from the front group. With 18 miles to go, Skuijns took a flyer, forcing Houle, Powless and Hamilton to chase while teammate Skjelmose could sit.
Skujiņš had a 15-second lead for the group of four chasers at 10 miles. It looked as if the Latvian was on his way to victory but Holly attacked Ward Skilmoos to reduce the deficit. And it wasn’t long before the five got back together.
However, the front group continued to race aggressively until Skjelmose went wide for pole and managed to open up a small gap that grew from seven seconds on one lap to 2:20 by the time he crossed the finish line.
Results supported by FirstCycling