32nd Grand-prix OST-Manufaktur
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It was a triumphant return to Bech for Thomas Deruette who, after having narrowly failed to win here in 2015, took the victory in this 32nd edition of the Grand-prix OST-Manufaktur, after a thrilling race with suspense until the very end. After having chosen in favour of a pro contract in Belgium for two years, the rider from Virton, next to the Luxemburg border, has returned in this 2019 season to his former team from Differdange, a successful comeback that has allowed him to take a brilliant victory this Sunday, his first of the season. In a race where the dominance of the home continental teams, Leopard Pro Cycling and Differdange, was less obvious than in the past, Deruette rode the same way than he did four years ago: as offensive as she could be and, this time, opportunistic enough to win ahead of Belgian Felix De Groef and Luxembourg's Pit Leyder.

The wind had risen over the eastern heights of the Grand Duchy on that Sunday afternoon, without rainfall, but filled with grey skies. The 89 starters knew that the wind from the northeast would play a role in the most exposed parts of the circuit. An offensive race on the traditional and very selective course around Bech was expected and it didn't take until the end of the first of the 13 laps to see a first attack break away: 7 riders had escaped at the front, among them two from Differdange (Tom Thill and Jan Petelin), two from TWC Maaslandster (Luuk Van Helden and Giel Meesen) as well as Michiel Offermans (Prorace Cycling Team), Pit Schlechter (Leopard Pro Cycling) and German Lennart Jung. But the gaps were minimal and after the next lap, only Pit Schlechter, Lennart Jung and Giel Meesen remained in front of the initial breakaway. They were soon joined by Thomas Deruette and Misch Leyder at the front. Behind them, the peloton was led by the riders of the Prorace Cycling Team who caused a general regroupement, before the peloton exploded completely again in the crosswinds, between Bech and Berbourg.

Three smaller groups were spread out on the road, only a few hundred meters one behind another, but the damage was done: they would never again regroup completely. Meanwhile, at the front, riders continued to accelerate: 10 of them found themselves in the lead, with a majority of Leopard Pro Cycling Team riders in the breakaway. Arthur Kluckers, Bas Van Belle and Misch Leyder were accompanied by two riders from CC Chevigny, Axel De Lie and Antoine Cloux, only one frome Differdange (Thomas Deruette), Belgian Felix De Groef (VP Consulting Team), Gert-Jan De Sy (Prorace Cycling Team), 11th on this same course a few years ago, Lennart Jung (Team Hermann) and Michel Ries, from the Kometa Cycling Team. The latter, who finished tenth of the last Tour de l'Avenir, accelerated each time on the main hill of the course, before the rapid descent towards the peaceful village of Berbourg. While the leading group lost Arthur Kluckers, victim of a flat tire, the next chasers still believed in the win, like Tom Thill, who made a counter-attack behind the leaders and rode on his own for a while.

At the half of the race, the now nine men in front were still less than a minute ahead of a first peloton in which Luxembourg's Tom Thill, Pit Schlechter, Pit Leyder, Cedric Pries, Jan Petelin, Arthur Kluckers, Rik Karier and Lex Reichling were present, while the other home riders were scattered in the groups that followed this first peloton in small groups, one, two, even three minutes behind the breakaway of the day. Under the impression of Michel Ries and Felix De Groef, the front group was reduced to only 7 units, because the two riders from CC Chevigny, De Lie and Cloux, lost contact. With three laps to go, the gaps had finally widened and the advantage of the leading men exceeded two minutes on a first peloton where the collaboration was not very good.

Shortly before the end of the penultimate lap, there was another selection in the race when Thomas Deruette had attacked at the front, taking with him Belgian Felix De Groef, with a few seconds advantage on Gert-Jan De Sy, Pit Leyder and Michel Ries. At a respectable distance behind them, Tom Thill had once again broke away from the chasing group, accompanied by his teammate Jeroen Pattyn and Tom Verhaegen, of the GM Recycling Team. A few metres behind them, Belgian Len De Pauw and Dutch Paul Gruithuizen were also trying to move up in the rankings. In the last lap, the gaps were minimal and the suspense was big: the public was waiting on the finish line, seeing a silhouette in the fog, under the red flame, on the opposite side of the village. But even our official speaker Fernand Weiler could not distinguish the colours of the jersey. It was blue, white and black, finally: a rider from Differdange reached the final straight line solo, his fist stretched towards the sky. Thomas Deruette won the 32nd edition of the Grand-prix OST-Manufaktur with a 6 second lead over Felix De Groef, who was faster in the sprint than the first Luxemburgish rider Pit Leyder, Gert-Jan De Sy and Michel Ries. Lennart Jung and Bas Van Belle were not far behind, while Jeroen Pattyn from Differdange took seventh position, almost two minutes behind, as the first rider in the results who had not been part of the break of the day of 10 riders that rode away just before mid-race.

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