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"The assignment for the day was to save energy, but that's hard. The roads in Turkey are rough and up and down the entire day. But saving energy for the final two sprint stages this weekend was the goal," Elijzen says

Photo: Le Tour de Langkawi 2014






03.05.2014 @ 10:54 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

With no GC riders on the roster, Belkin only had to survive yesterday's mountain stage in the Tour of Turkey to stay as fresh as possible to the two sprint stages over the weekend. Youngster Nick van der Lijke tested his legs on the final climb but the rest of the team saved as much strength as possible.


The Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM survived the Tour of Turkey's toughest day with an eye on today's sprint. Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEDGE) won the mountaintop finish in Selcuk and took the overall lead. Nick van der Lijke placed 33rd, but that was not the plan. 

"That wasn't the goal," said Sports Director Michiel Elijzen. "But he was able to test himself in his first year as a pro. It's good that he tries to hold on as long as possible, 33rd is okay and 66th would’ve been okay, as well." 


They raced 183 kilometres north today, covered several small climbs and one big one to the finish at 400 metres. Thanks to his win, Yates looks likely to win the race in two days' time. 

"We brought a sprint team here, so we really didn’t expect to do much today. A breakaway with five men went free right away," explained Elijzen. "Our guys were in the peloton until the last climb and then the group split up. Nick did a good effort to stay as long as he did. It was a good day for Nick."

"I was trying to climb as long as I could in the first group. Last year, it went well day by day. I wanted to give it a try," Nick van der Lijke said. "I didn't spend too much energy doing so. In fact, it's good for my form. I will also do my thing in the lead-out tomorrow." 


The 50th Tour of Turkey ends with two stages that suit the sprinters, one in Izmir tomorrow and the final in Istanbul on Sunday. 

"The assignment for the day was to save energy, but that's hard," added Elijzen. "The roads in Turkey are rough and up and down the entire day. But saving energy for the final two sprint stages this weekend was the goal."


Elijzen wants to "bag a stage" in the coming weekend. To do so, the men in green and black have two options: Barry Markus or Theo Bos.. 



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