Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s Tom Leezer represented The Netherlands in style with a solo attacking in the closing kilometres of the world championships in Doha. He was caught by the sprinters in the final kilometre and held on for 17th.
Slovakian Peter Sagan won the sprint ahead of Brit Mark Cavendish and Belgian Tom Boonen.
"Today, I had a good day. It was like the juniors, at 70 kilometres an hour heading towards a bend to get in the first echelon. It worked and that was nice,” Leezer said.
“It was hard in the cross-winds, but on the finishing circuits, I felt good."
After 70 kilometres, the peloton broke into several echelons. Along with a number of Belgians, the Brits were there with Cavendish, the Norwegians with Kristoff and the Dutch Niki Terpstra and Tom Leezer in the first group.
"We did not go for tenth place, but all or nothing,” continued Leezer. “Terpstra started to attack and it became chaos in the group. Then it was up to me. I went for it full-gas. I had the TV motorbike as a target and went 100% for it. I looked back and saw that I had a nice gap.
"In the corner, I had tail-wind and it felt good, just 800 metres from the line, I hit a full head-wind. ‘It won’t work,’ I thought. I felt cramps and you know they're going to sprint behind. The fairy tale was over 500 metres from the finish line."
"It was my debut in the Worlds, so I leave more than satisfied,” Leezer added. He was not the only rider of Team LottoNL-Jumbo who rode his first Worlds. Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen and American Alexey Vermeulen were debutants, as well. Groenewegen rode in the second group and finished 37th. Alexey Vermeulen and Jos van Emden had to abandon.
"It was a hard and long day,” Groenewegen said. “There was so much chaos heading towards the turning point. Everyone knew that it was going to happen there and we sprinted to that corner. If you’re 25 riders back, that’s already too far behind. It sucks that I got stuck too back when the peloton broke up. I ended up in the second echelon. Normally, the second echelon comes back, but the Belgians raced full-gas in the first group and in our group, they slowed us down."