Emotional victory for Marcel Six as GPN squad take first international win in Belgium
- Credit: Archant
The GPN Builders-Rock and Road Bikes team hit a huge milestone in their fledgling history as they claimed a first international win.
The St Albans-based squad travelled to the Bellem Aalter LWU Classic, west of Ghent in Belgium, and the five-man squad of Clay Davies, Luke Houghton, Michael Parry, Marcel Six and Adam Strudwick not only returned with the team prize but also the overall win for Six, ably backed up by Parry’s third spot.
And Six had an extra reason for the delight over his victory.
He said: “It was quite an emotional day for me. I wanted to win this as it’s close to where my dad grew up and after his sudden passing I wanted to go and get a good result.
“To get the win means a lot to me and it’s completely dedicated to him.”
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The race saw 100 riders and some top teams lining up but the squad only had one thought in their mind from the off - attack.
They covered most moves until Parry and Six got into the initial break on the fifth lap of 21.
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A car on the roads with 10 laps to go saw the lead slashed from its maximum of 35 seconds but even though it got caught, both Six and Parry were able to get into the next group of eight to escape up the road.
Parry had been the main instigator and it proved to be the winning move, with the group quickly gaining a minute gap.
And he made the initial move on the final lap, drawing two away with him.
But they were joined with just 1.5km to go by Six and the pair were able to work together over the final metres to take first and third, with Pieter Roeygens of Belgium coming second.
And to add to the day’s success, Davies was second in the bunch sprint behind to claim 10th overall.
Director sportive Gary Nugent said: “The whole team worked hard for this race the whole winter and it showed getting three riders in the top 10 and two on the podium is amazing.
“We’re on a massive high and we want to continue this success.
“All five are capable of winning these type of races and it showed.
“We are a solid unit and work together like a well-oiled machine.”
Job done, the squad were then able to relax and watch the Tour of Flanders, a monument of world cycling and a race which Six described as “a must see with an electric atmosphere”.