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“The guys were together and ready to move when a crash happened right in front of them with just over two kilometres to go. There was little the guys could do," Kemna says

Photo: Sirotti








22.06.2014 @ 22:10 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Team Giant-Shimano are famously known for their ability to move in the finale of a sprint but in today's final stage of the Ster ZLM Toer they paid the price for their waiting strategy. Marcel Kittel and his teammates were held up behind a crash in what should have been the dress rehearsal for the Tour de France.


The fifth and final stage of the Ster ZLM Toer ended up in disappointment for Team Giant-Shimano as firstly the team lost Bert De Backer to an early crash and a resulting broken shoulder blade, and then another crash in the final stages put an end to the hopes of Marcel Kittel 0f taking a second stage win in the race.


The stage as expected came down to a bunch sprint and with Kittel unable to contest the finish due to being held up behind a crash the team came away empty handed.


Two riders pulled ahead of the relaxed peloton early on and not long after the team lost De Backer to an unfortunate crash in the bunch. De Backer was unable to continue and the team’s medical experts later confirmed a broken scapula. Further updates on his condition and recovery will follow.


The stage rolled on and the peloton steadily closed the gap to the leaders, eventually making the junction within ten kilometres to go. From here on in it was set for a sprint finish and the lead-outs formed at the front of the race. Team Giant-Shimano were moving forward in the closing stages but got caught behind a late crash with two kilometres to go and were held up, ending their chances of a second stage stage win.


The team can look back on a successful week though were they placed two riders in the top five in the opening time trial, with Albert Timmer racing to third, and then a stage win the following day with Kittel. The win saw him spend the next two days in the race leader’s jersey before eventually letting it go on the tough, hilly penultimate stage.


Team Giant-Shimano coach Rudi Kemna explained a bit more about what happened at the end of the stage: “After we lost Bert we were a man down for the sprint formation so we decided to leave the lead-out until a bit later than usual.


“The guys were together and ready to move when a crash happened right in front of them with just over two kilometres to go. There was little the guys could do and only Albert made it through but there was little he could do on his own. No-one came down which was good but it was a shame not to have one final shot at victory here.


“The guys have ridden well together this week though and we got our stage win on day two which was good and Albert finished in seventh on GC after a strong week, so all in all we can be happy with how we raced here.”



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