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"Maybe the speed at the front was not high enough, or he waited a moment too long, I don’t know. It was a little headwind and maybe he was scared to go too early - and just right at that moment they came from the right and from t...

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GIACOMO NIZZOLO

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12.08.2015 @ 21:31 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

For the third straight day at the Eneco Tour the sprinters reigned, but testament to the tricky finales it was again a different victor that took the stage glory.

 

Similar to the first day, no one team was able to take control in a complicated run-in to the 172-kilometer third stage as the race was full on to a series of corners ahead of the one kilometer to go banner.

 

The turns derailed the sprint trains, and out of the final bend it became a free-for-all for the final mostly straight 1000 meters. 

Giacomo Nizzolo was in prime position, sitting third, then second wheel heading into the final meters until the Etixx-Quick Step rider in front of him pulled off.

 

It was a slight headwind and it became the undoing of Nizzolo, who found himself in a tough predicament with around 200 meters to go. Tom Boonen was on Nizzolo’s wheel, but no one jumped, and Nizzolo, too, hesitated.

 

Boonen pulled alongside Nizzolo, as if in a game of  “dare”, both knowing to go this early was certain doom, and neither wanting to be the other’s leadout.

 

And, in that instant it was over for Nizzolo.

 

Arnaud Demare (FDJ.fr) jumped hard from behind and Boonen, anticipating a move accelerated at the same moment and was able to grab the Frenchman’s wheel and then come over top of him to take the win. 

 

Nizzolo jumped a half second too late and was never able to regain top speed and faded to a disappointing 15th.

 

Instead, Danny van Poppel – who looked to be far out of contention - rode the wave of riders coming from behind and finished ninth.

 

“Giacomo is really disappointed and he has not spoken to me yet,” said director Dirk Demol after the finish. “It looked really good with two kilometers to go, maybe the speed at the front was not high enough, or he waited a moment too long, I don’t know. It was a little headwind and maybe he was scared to go too early – and just right at that moment they came from the right and from the left and it was over.

 

“Of course I was hoping for more since the finish was in my town,” chuckled Demol. “But anyway what can we say? The plan was again to give the chance to both our sprinters and that one would play off the Lotto (Soudal) train and the other the Etixx (Quick Step) train. It was the hope for them to find each other and see what they could do; they are both fast on this level, and it’s up to them to manage what to do.”

 

The lack of wind or rain has made the three opening stages easier and a more straightforward affair until the finishes, where the sprints have been unorganized and unpredictable.

 

Demol continued, “It has not been super long distance races yet, and except the first stage which was a little bit harder, too many riders are too fresh coming into the finales and it’s a big fight and very hectic to keep your position and to fight back all the time. Maybe with stronger winds it would be easier to keep position, but it’s been difficult. They try, and try again to find the best way into the final kilometer, but it’s been tricky.

 

“The rest of the team protected our key guys the maximum all day, they did that quite well, but it did not end as we hoped. All the guys will go full gas tomorrow in the time trial and give everything they can because you never know what will happen in the last three days. The more cards we have to play, the better.”

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