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"At one moment we were a bit in trouble, due to a sanitary stop and a puncture of Greg Henderson. We weren't part of the first echelon, but the luck was on our side. There was nothing wrong about it,"

Photo: Sirotti






24.05.2014 @ 20:09 Posted by Andy Pedersen

André Greipel sprinted to the victory in the first stage of the World Ports Classic this afternoon, a ride of 195 kilometers between Rotterdam and Antwerp. Lotto Belisol took control of the race on the way to the bunch sprint. The train stood perfectly on the rails and the German champion finished the job.


Soon after the start three riders jumped away from the peloton: Dries Hollanders, Andreas Stauff and Ronan Van Zandbeek. They got up to seven minutes lead. At about sixty kilometers from the finish echelons were formed just at the moment of a sanitary stop. Lotto Belisol wasn't present in the first echelon. Because the riders had to wait at a level crossing the groups got back together. After the early escapees had been reeled in, three others took their chance. But Jesper Asselman, Matthias Brändle and Ramon Sinkeldam didn't make it either.


Tijmen Eising and Petr Vakoc tried to avoid a bunch sprint as well, but with less than three kilometers to go also there attempt was over. Lotto Belisol led the peloton towards the sprint. André Greipel won, before Alexander Porsev and Theo Bos. Thanks to the stage win Greipel leads the GC and is the owner of the points jersey. Tomorrow the peloton returns from Antwerp to Rotterdam. The stage of 160.5 kilometers is flat as well.


"The team and I are relieved thanks to this victory, because it had been a while since we won. Also after all the bad luck we had in the spring it was necessary to grab this opportunity to get a bunch sprint. The team put its trust in me, the team spirit was right from kilometer zero. We stuck to the plan. At one moment we were a bit in trouble, due to a sanitary stop and a puncture of Greg Henderson. We weren't part of the first echelon, but the luck was on our side. There was nothing wrong about it," Andre Greipel said.


"There was headwind in the final, which made it harder to time the lead-out. But the guys did it perfectly and rode to the front on the right moment. During the stage Frederik Willems was pulling at the front, in the chase on the escapees. Stig Broeckx and Jens Debusschere did a good job as well before the lead-out could be started up. We'll see what happens tomorrow, for example if we get help from other teams to catch a breakaway."



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