EvoPro Racing robbed on dramatic racing trip to Eastern Europe

Posted on: April 24th, 2019
EvoPro Racing had it all under control but ended their trip bruised by what happened on the bike and off it. Above, Aaron Gate in yellow and double stage winner Wouter Wippert get ready for the podium presentation.

The Irish Continental team EvoPro Racing picked up three more UCI wins last week in Eastern Europe, but they came away bruised in more ways than one.

They suffered an ambush on the road during the last stage of the race they were riding and lost the yellow jersey.

And away from the racing action, the new team was also robbed of a lot of equipment; though some of it was returned with the help of the race organisers.

EvoPro Racing started brilliantly in of Belgrade Banjaluka (2.1); a four stage race in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The team won the opening stage with Aaron Gate; the Kiwi doing exactly what he had done at the New Zealand Cycle Classic earlier in the year.

He won the opener from a breakaway; collection the win on the day and yellow and looking good to defend the lead all the way

Cyrus Monk looking the worse for wear on the final stage, when things went sour for EvoPro Racing as the local riders hit back at them.

However, while everything went well in New Zealand and he won the race outright, a puncture cost him dearly on the fourth and final stage in Eastern Europe last week.

After Gate won the first stage, Wouter Wippert popped up for EvoPro Racing and won the next two stages in bunch sprints.

Gate held his yellow jersey and heading into the final stage on Sunday, some 175km from Prnjavor to Banjaluka he look odds on to defend the yellow jersey.

There were just a couple of modest climbs early in the stage, with a flat course to follow.

However, when Gate punctured the hammer went on in the peloton and that ensured he never regained contact, despite his team mates waiting for him.

Their efforts were complicated by the fact one of their number, Cyrus Monk, crashed.

But it was the injection of pace in the group when the Irish team’s race leader crash that ensured he lost the race overall.

Such was the speed in the bunch that the main field was whittled down to just 40 riders by the finish.

Gate eventually finished the stage some 4:43 down on that reduced peloton, in the same group as Irish rider and team mate Daire Feeley.

And that ensured Gate lost yellow and tumbled down the standings to 42nd overall.

The team was also targeted in a robbery while on Serbian soil during their trip away to the race.

Thieves took two Guerciotti frames from the team as well as a groupset, four luggage bags, three phones and a laptop.

While the race organisers of the race were very helpful to the Irish team, and some items were retrieved, the robbery was a real incovenience.