uses cookies for statistics and targeting ads. This information is shared with third parties.

Every day we bring you more pro-cycling news

Kittel wins his first sprint since his premature withdrawal from the Giro in the highly anticipated battle with Greipel in the Ster ZLM Toer; the German also takes the leader’s jersey off Gilbert’s shoulders

Photo: Sirotti










19.06.2014 @ 17:54 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) proved that he is on track for another successful Tour de France when he won the first big sprint battle with André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) at the Ster ZLM Toer. While Greipel was never in contention and finished back in 27th, Kittel held off Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) and Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) to take both the stage win and the leader’s jersey in the five-day race.


Going into today’s first stage of the Ster ZLM Toer, Marcel Kittel hadn’t done a bunch sprint since he won stage 3 of the Giro d’Italia in Dublin. However, the German proved that he is definitely ready for his upcoming battles at the Tour de France when he won today’s highly anticipated battle with key rival André Greipel in the flat Dutch race.


With very little wind, all was set for a big bunch sprint and the sprint teams made sure to keep things under control all day. With a little more than 10km to go, the early break was caught and it was Lotto Belisol who dominated proceedings in a quest to set up Greipel for the win.


Giant-Shimano and Omega Pharma-Quick Step were also up there in a fierce battle between some of the strongest lead-out trains in the world but the sprinters had a brief scare when a rider from Garmin-Sharp and one from Omega Pharma-Quick Step escaped in the finale. However, they quickly got back in control and set such a hard pace that the bunch split in two, leaving just 40 riders to contest the sprint.


With 2km to go, Belkin took control in a quest to set up last year’s winner of the stage Theo Bos but the Dutch team lost the battle to Giant-Shimano who again showed that they are some of the strongest in the business. Kittel’s team kept control all the way to the finish before launching their German sprinter off the front to take another sprint victory.


Behind, Greipel soon realized that he was not in a position to do the sprint and he rolled across the line in 27th. Instead, Kittel’s nearest rivals were Tyler Farrar and Gianni Meersman who completed the podium.


As Kittel had finished fifth in yesterday’s prologue, the 10 bonus seconds were enough to elevate him into the race while Meersman moved into second ahead of previous leader Philippe Gilbert (BMC). Kittel takes a 10-second lead over Meersman into tomorrow’s second stage which is a lot harder than today’s. At the midpoint the riders will go up several climbs known from the Amstel Gold Race but as the final half is flat or descending, another bunch sprint is expected.


One for the sprinters

After the opening prologue, the Ster ZLM Toer continued with a stage that very much characterizes the sprint-friendly race. The stage brought them over 183.9 completely flat kilometres from Ruchpen to St. Willibrord which consisted of 50 opening kilometres, two laps of a 56km circuit and one lap of a 21.2km circuit around the finishing city.


All riders that finished yesterday’s stage took the start under relatively pleasant weather conditions. Most notably Kenneth Vanbilsen (Topsport Vlaanderen) who collided with a spectator in yesterday’s prologue and was transported from the scene in an ambulance, was allowed to continue in the race, starting the stage as the last rider in the standings with a time deficit of 49 minutes.


An early break

With most riders expecting the stage to be controlled by the sprint teams, it took some time for the first attacks to be launched and pretty early a 4-rider break was created. Nicola Testi (Androni), Alphonse Vermote (Vastgodservice), Timo Roosen (Rabobank) and Jan-Willem van het Schip (Koga) decided to try to defy the odds and very soon had a 4-minute gap.


Vermote had to battle his way back to the group after a puncture while a small crash disrupted the progress of the peloton but the bunch always kept the escapees tightly under control. They allowed the gap to grow to 5 minutes before the BMC team of race leader Gilbert took control.


Bol abandons

A crash brought down four riders, including Jetse Bol who was forced to abandon the race. Meanwhile, BMC kept the gap stable between the 4- and 5-minute marks.


Van het Schip beat Testi and Roosen in the first intermediate sprint after 50km of racing while Lasse Norman (Garmin) became the next rider to abandon the race. With 80km to go, the peloton upped the pace slightly and brought the gap down to 3.30 where they again stabilized the situation


Lotto start to chase

Lotto Belisol had now taken control and they started to bring down the gap. With 50km to go, it was only 2 minutes and with 30km to go, it was only 1.10.


The escapees reacted well and still had 45 seconds in hand when they crossed the line for the penultimate time. Roosen beat Testi and van het Schip in the final intermediate sprint before the quartet again started to collaborate.


The break is caught

With 20km to go, the gap was 30 seconds and it had now started to rain, making the roads very slippery. Just before the 10km to go mark, the front group was caught which opened the door for an attack from a Rabobank rider.


Lotto Belisol were still in control and brought the young rider back before Giant-Shimano and OPQS took over. Moments later, a rider from OPQS and one from Garmin attacked but with 5km to go, it was back together.


The peloton split in two and so only 40 riders were left to contest the sprint. Belkin tried to dominate the finale but in the end it was Giant-Shimano that delivered Kittel to another victory.


Dumoulin wins Fair Play prize »

Arndt: Next year I hope to lead a Grand Tour »

Giant-Alpecin awarded as most media friendly team »

Dumoulin suffers in Abu Dhabi heat »

Etixx-QuickStep with four cards to play in Paris-Tours »



Bouhanni: I was under pressure 13.10.2015 @ 20:13Bouhanni comes out on top in final European road race 13.10.2015 @ 17:05LottoNL-Jumbo sign young American 13.10.2015 @ 16:51Ulissi leads Lampre-Merida in Japan 13.10.2015 @ 15:33Romain Feillu to sign with continential team? 13.10.2015 @ 15:062018 Worlds to be held on climbing course in Austria? 13.10.2015 @ 15:01Theuns ready to battle with Bouhanni for Europe Tour title 13.10.2015 @ 14:53Astana signs Capecchi and Smukulis 13.10.2015 @ 11:33Drapac finalize 2016 roster 13.10.2015 @ 11:31Cult-Stölting extend with Kirsch 13.10.2015 @ 11:00Cameron Meyer joins Dimension Data 13.10.2015 @ 10:39Oleg Tinkov: I doubt that Riis has the money 13.10.2015 @ 08:30Froome back in training and motivated for the 2016 season 13.10.2015 @ 07:55Dumoulin wins Fair Play prize 13.10.2015 @ 07:30Southeast secures Giro d'Italia wildcard 13.10.2015 @ 07:00Nibali: The big goal is the Olympics 13.10.2015 @ 06:30Arndt: Next year I hope to lead a Grand Tour 13.10.2015 @ 06:00Boonen to start 2016 preparations in six weeks 12.10.2015 @ 19:53Inuagural Abu Dhabi Tour in numbers 12.10.2015 @ 19:50Matt Goss signs with One Pro Cycling 12.10.2015 @ 19:45LottoNL-Jumbo sign Tour de Slovenie winner 12.10.2015 @ 19:27Report: 2016 Tour de France to visit Mont Ventoux 12.10.2015 @ 15:50Six-month break for Boonen? 12.10.2015 @ 15:38Unstoppable Van Aert wins Bpost opener 12.10.2015 @ 15:26Bouhanni misses out in windy Paris-Tours 12.10.2015 @ 15:20Cramps take Gougeard out of contention in Tours 12.10.2015 @ 15:15Gallopin: Van der Sande deserved his chance 12.10.2015 @ 15:11Demare satsified despite missing out in Paris-Tours 12.10.2015 @ 15:02Van Asbroeck leads LottoNL-Jumbo in final European race 12.10.2015 @ 14:59Cult-Stölting sign 19-year-old German 12.10.2015 @ 10:32Boeckmans: I want to become the rider I was before the... 12.10.2015 @ 10:00Giant-Alpecin awarded as most media friendly team 12.10.2015 @ 07:30Inaugural UCI Cycling Gala celebrates 2015 season 12.10.2015 @ 07:00Sagan: Second is not first 11.10.2015 @ 22:16Excellent fifth place for Jans in Paris-Tours 11.10.2015 @ 22:03Movistar praise Valverde after another great season 11.10.2015 @ 21:55Mixed results for Ulissi and Modolo in Abu Dhabi 11.10.2015 @ 21:51Good Italian debut for Roompot 11.10.2015 @ 21:36Roompot caught out in Paris-Tours wind 11.10.2015 @ 21:32Belletti: Sooner or later I will win GP Beghelli 11.10.2015 @ 21:23Van der Sande: It's not a disgrace to be beaten by... 11.10.2015 @ 21:02Viviani: I knew it would be dificult to beat me 11.10.2015 @ 20:56Vorganov puts Katusha on show in final 2015 race 11.10.2015 @ 20:50Mechanical takes Novo Nordisk sprinter out of contention 11.10.2015 @ 20:44Wind takes in-form Bennett out of contention in Tours 11.10.2015 @ 20:39Teunissen continues love affair with Paris-Tours 11.10.2015 @ 20:31Nizzolo crashes out of Paris-Tours at kilometre 1 11.10.2015 @ 20:23Haussler: Paris-Tours is the hardest race I have ever done 11.10.2015 @ 20:14Chaves: I will remember this race 11.10.2015 @ 19:59MTN-Qhubeka leave Abu Dhabi with disappointment 11.10.2015 @ 19:51Brutt takes over from Breschel in Tours 11.10.2015 @ 19:41Young South African: Paris-Tours took 5 years off my li... 11.10.2015 @ 19:35Colombia: Duque faster than everybody else 11.10.2015 @ 19:26Ferrari: This was one of my few opportunities 11.10.2015 @ 19:20Trentin: I have never been stronger 11.10.2015 @ 19:03

25 years | today
36 years | today
Marion AZAM
24 years | today
Daniel Valter ROGELIM
43 years | today
36 years | today

© 2013