On a nearly spring-alike Sunday morning, about thirty junior and masters riders opened the road-season 2017 in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Our course around Bech had to be changed from the last few years due to traffic works and the new layout offered only little recovering possibilities for the riders: a selection took place lap after lap and they were nine to dominate the race for a long while. At the end however, there were only four left to battle for the win in a final sprint, a sprint that was perfectly timed by Arthur Kluckers, the member of VC Schengen who produced his effort at the right time to take the win, with a small margin on Nicolas Kess and Gilles Kirsch.
Exactly 30 riders have launched the 94th edition of the Grand Prix François Faber, among them also 10 members of the masters category. But in fact, those experienced riders, who had to ride with gears to which they are not accustomed, were not able to hold the competition with the young wolves and were quickly evicted from the fist positions. The first lap was acomplished more or less grouped, despite the attacks, but the second loop created already holes in a peloton that was ready to split into several parts, following accelerations by Cedric Pries and Raphael Kockelmann among others. The course was relentless, the numerous turns succeeding to small climbs, with a little bit of wind as extra ingredient and, if the long and slightly downhill section into Bech and to the finish line allowed several regroupements, the peloton was soon to divide.
9 riders found themselves together at the front before mid-race, including 2 representatives respectively of VC Schengen (Cedric Pries and Arthur Kluckers), CCI Differdange (Raphael Kockelmann and Rick Stemper) and Tooltime Preizerdaul (Felix Schreiber and James Bindels). Also present at the front were Gilles Kirsch of the club in Mondorf, Nicolas Kess of LC Kayl and Misch Leyder from the VC Diekirch. Behind them, there was a group of seven racing with Tristan Parotta, Rik Karier, Pol Nothum, Germany's Jan-Erik Rinke, Dylan Thiel and Felix Petry, as well as the only representatives of the masters still near to the front, Franck Sertic. But the riders in the leading group cooperated very well, taking strong turns, so that the the seven chasers lost more and more ground while the race went on. During lap five, they were going to recover James Bindels, who was distanced from the leading group, but lost Tristan Parotta, probably the most active of the group, who preferred to abdicate while they were already three minutes late on the head of the race.
Despite several accelerations, the leading group remained intact until the last lap and so, they were eight together still in contention for the win at the sound of the bell. Cedric Pries and Raphael Kockelmann soon had to pay the price for their offensive efforts already made, and they were dropped in the last difficulty of the day, the climb of Geyershof. Felix Schreiber and Misch Leyder were also distanced not far before the finish, so that Kluckers, Kess, Kirsch and Stemper battled it out in a head-to-head sprint. Nicolas Kess launched the sprint very soon and seemed able to take the win, but Kluckers had better calculated his efforts and he came out of the LC Kayl rider's wheel in the last few meters to raise his hands for celebration. Arthur Kluckers thus wins the 94th edition of the Grand Prix François Faber in front of Nicolas Kess and Gilles Kirsch. Rick Stemper, Felix Schreiber and Misch Leyder finished in this order within just a few seconds, while Pol Nothum won the sprint of what remained of the peloton at more than 4 minutes, ahead of Frank Sertic, the first of the masters.
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