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"It seems that the next two stages are a little more difficult. I do not know what to expect tomorrow. I'm obviously going to try to go one step further with the jersey on my shoulders," Helven says

Photo: A.S.O. / Pascal Perreve

ETOILE DE BESSÈGES

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TEAM FLANDERS - BALOISE

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06.02.2014 @ 21:41 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Sander Helven (Topsport Vlaanderen) got safely through his first day as leader in a major bike race when he finished in the bunch on the second stage of the Etoile de Besseges. With the race now entering more hilly terrain, the surprise leader is unsure of what to expect from himself.

 

When the Etoile de Besseges started yesterday, few would have expected that Sander Helven would be the race leader at the end of stage. After winning the first stage from a successful breakaway, however, the youngster finds himself in the unusual position of leading a major race.

 

Today he got safely through his first day in the new role as he finished in the bunch when Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) won the second stage in a bunch sprint. His Topsport Vlaanderen team took its responsibility to chase down the early break and protect Helven's unexpected race lead.
 

"Of  course it is of course a good day because I kept the jersey," he told DIrectvelo. "The team worked very hard all day. We tried to do two things as we also tried to get the win in a sprint [with Tom van Asbroeck and Kenneth Vanbilsen]. We didn't succeed but it is not a major issue, we will not win every day! The main thing is to keep the jersey for one more day. I'm very happy."

 

The next two stages are significantly hillier and the race ends with a time trial. Helven finds himself on untested territory and doesn't know how far he can get.

 

"It seems that the next two stages are a little more difficult," he said. "I do not know what to expect tomorrow. I'm obviously going to try to go one step further with the jersey on my shoulders. "
 

Tomorrow's stage includes three category 1 climbs but has a flat final 50km and should end in some kind of sprint.

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