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"Of course it it's great to have Cavendish as a lead-out man although I would have preferred to win. He preferred to work for the team to improve his condition. Tomorrow it will again be fore me and I will try repay my te...

Photo: Sirotti










13.08.2014 @ 23:34 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After his horrific crash in the Tour de France, Mark Cavendish is back in competition in this week's Tour de l'Ain and today he had his first chance to sprint. As he didn't feel well, however, he chose to lead out his teammate Gianni Meersman who sprinted to third and extended his overall lead.


Gianni Meersman, with a 3rd place finish in the bunch sprint finale of 143.4km Stage 1 of Tour de l'Ain on Wednesday, preserved the GC leadership that he gained by winning the prologue on Tuesday.


Raymond Kreder (Garmin-Sharp) won the stage that came back together for the group arrival with about 10km to go in the race. Marc Sarreau ( was 2nd.


OPQS kept control of the front of the peloton throughout the race after finishing 1st-through-4th in the prologue the day before. They remain in the top 4 places of the overal classification.


OPQS looks next to 158.1km Stage 2 on Thursday.


"After yesterday's prologue, I expected to keep my jersey," Meersman told Directvelo. "I was even able to take four bonus seconds today. I would have preferred to win, but in the last hundred metres, there was a lot of wind and I launched my sprint too early. But it's still good. 


"We did not receive much help because we were first, second, third and fourth in the prologue. It was expected that we would have to do everything ourselves. 


"In the end, Garmin helped us, and we were able to enjoy their support. Hats off to Kreder who took the win. Cav launched my sprint but Kreder was perfectly positioned on my wheel. I started at 150 or 200 meters to go, and he was able to pass me in the end.


"Of course it it's great to have Cavendish as a lead-out man although I would have preferred to win. He preferred to work for the team to improve his condition. Tomorrow it will again be fore me and I will try repay my teammates for their work."


Meersman's teammate Julian Alaphilippe finished second in yesterday's prologue and defended his white jersey for best young rider in today's stage.

"The team did a great job, especially Carlos Verona," he said. "We knew it was a stage for a sprint, so we did everything to make it happen. We had to stay focused, pay attention to the break and control the race. As we did everything right, it is okay that we didn't win. 


"The slow pace of the peloton made it easy for everyone. It is a shame that it was not hard a bit earlier. The main thing is to still have the yellow jersey. 


"Personally, it's always nice to have a distinctive jersey but it is not a goal to keep it until the end. But if I do, I will be happy. I want to do all my work for my teammates to achieve the objectives of the team which are stage wins and the yellow jersey. The white jersey is a bonus. Of course it's good to win as much as possible. It will be difficult in the weeks so I will just do my best."



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