Tom Van Asbroeck and Pier-André Côté continued their strong starts to the season as they finished second and fourth respectively at Classic Loire Atlantique for the IPT Academy on Saturday.

This was Van Asbroeck’s second top-10 finish of the week, following on from sixth in Wednesday’s Danilith Nokere Koerse, while this was Côté’s best result since joining the IPT Academy squad at the start of 2024.

Having two riders place so highly was made even more impressive because the team started a rider down after Kiaan Watts was drafted into the Pro team for Friday’s Bredene Koksijde Classic in Belgium. He’ll rejoin the squad for the second part of the weekend double-header in France, the Cholet Agglo Tour.

The IPT Academy rode brilliantly to keep the day’s six-man breakaway in check throughout as the race took in 11 laps of a circuit in La Haie-Fouassiere, a few kilometers southeast of Nantes.

However, the race dynamic changed when 12 riders jumped clear from the peloton with a little over 50 kilometers to go. One of these – Paul Lapeira (DAT) – then broke clear from this group with 20 kilometers remaining and held on to win by 19 seconds.

“We did an amazing job controlling the race for most of the day, so I was able to save so much energy,” said Van Asbroeck. “Even after the group of 12 riders went away, the boys continued to do a brilliant job controlling things – I have to thank them because if it wasn’t for their efforts, there wouldn’t have been a podium spot to contend for. They really did an amazing job today. I won the sprint for second with their help – everybody made this possible, so I’m super happy with the result.”

IPT Academy Manager Tim Elverson adds: “A small group had been let go, which we were happy with, but the WorldTour teams pulled it back too quickly. We knew chaos may happen with it caught with 50 kilometers to go but we made the mistake of being out of position when this happened.

“Missing a break in which all of the WorldTour teams were represented meant we couldn’t wait for someone else to ride, so we got on with it and the guys made a massive effort. We held Pier-André and Tom back for the finish, unfortunately, the winner had clipped off, but Pier led Tom out to take the bunch sprint for second. Overall, a very impressive team job today.”