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"It was a wonderful finale. It's a pity Bol could not win. The guys were present in the finale, and everyone did their job. We were fighting to the end," sports director Erik Dekker says

Photo: Sirotti






13.10.2013 @ 18:59 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Belkin were the main aggressors in today's final classic Paris-Tours when the team was part of all major attacks in the final part of the race. Young Jetse Bol got agonizingly close to the win but was caught less than 500m from the line.


Without a major sprinter in their ranks, Belkin knew that they had to ride aggressively to come away with the win in today's traditional sprint classic, Paris-Tours. The team did exactly that when they put in a very impressive performance in the final part of the race.


When the attacks started to fly inside the final 30km, the Dutch team was always present with Sep Vanmarcke, Lars Boom, Maarten Wynants and Jetse Bol all being part of the action. Vanmarcke made it into a strong group that absorbed most of the early breakaway but was reeled in shortly before the Cote de Beau Soleil with 10km to go.


However, the Paris-Roubaix runner-up still had power in his legs and was able to make it onto the wheel of defending champion Marco Marcato when he attacked hard on the steep ascent. Bol also made it into the group that was created in the process.


With no cooperation among the escapees, Bol set off on his own and managed to build up a 15-second gap over the peloton. Unfortunately, Argos-Shimano and FDJ organized their troops and the young Dutchman was denied the major win when he was caught less than 500m from the line.


Despite the near-miss, sports director Erik Dekker was impressed by his team.


"We were close to victory. It was a very good performance by the team today," he said Erik. "It was a wonderful finale. It's a pity Bol could not win. The guys were present in the finale, and everyone did their job. We were fighting to the end."


Behind the lone Bol, Boom was trying to disrupt the chase to an extent that raised anger from eventual winner John Degenkolb. However, the classics specialist saw it as a way to pay back a tireless domestique for his work.


"Bol was alone in the front, and he had a fair chance to win," Boom said. "I was always on the first wheel, and I stopped pedaling with 2km to go and the last corner. That's the way to help someone who helps you all season long. It was a good performance by the team."


While Bol got close to the win, Vanmarcke was probably the strongest rider in the race. The Belgian has been riding well in the autumn season and finished 2nd in Paris-Roubaix in the spring. He has a positive assessment of his first season with his new team.


"I wanted to be in the breakaways in the final hills. The final climb created a really good group," Vanmarcke said. "There was a surge, and I needed to recovery, and I wasn't at my strongest at that moment. Now the season is over. It's been a good season, but you can always be better. I am looking forward to training again for the classics next year."


With today's race, the European season has come to an end for Belkin. The Dutch team has won 28 races and got a 6th place in the Tour de France with Bauke Mollema. Dekker is happy with the first season under the Belkin name.


"The European season is over," Dekker said. "This was the last major race. It would have been wonderful if we could have won. I can be happy with the team performance. The guys were fighting right to the end, and that's what I like to hear."


Bram Tankink was the team's highest finisher in 18th in today's race.



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