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"All will depend on the team. Are they strong enough to defend the lead? I have seen a strong team and I think they can do it."

Photo: Vacansoleil-DCM






19.08.2014 @ 21:12 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Bjorn Leukemans put himself in a great position to repeat his 2011 win in the Tour du Limousin when he took a solo victory in today's opening stage. The Belgian is confident that his team is strong enough to defend the overall lead.


Björn Leukemans has won the first stage in the Tour du Limousin. The Wanty-Groupe Gobert rider arrived solo on the line after 176,3 km. He is also the first leader in the four-days stage race.


"When you win, you are always happy," the winner reacted with a smile. 


From the start of the stage there were attacks but eventually a group of four riders got clear. Frederik Backaert represented Wanty-Groupe Gobert's colours in the breakaway. They got a maximum lead of five minutes. Bacakaert took three bonification seconds along the way.


At 80 to 90 kilometres from the line, the peloton was back together because of the work did. A new breakaway got up the road and it included both Kevin Seeldraeyers and Björn Leukemans. Seeldraeyers unfortunately had a flat tyre and had to let the group go after which Leukemans was alone in the break.


"I was well positioned at the front because I knew there could be splits. When the break went, I joined it," Leukemans says. "I didn't expect that we would stay away because the gap was always small. When Samuel Dumoulin joined us after his team worked to do so, I knew we stood a chance.


"I was in the break of 19 riders and I decided to try my luck with an attack four kilometres from the line. I managed to make a small difference and I was able to stay ahead to the finish to win the first stage.


"It was really weird. The four escapees had five minutes and after FDJ's work the gap fell to a minute. Then there was a regrouping that opened the door for new attacks. Physically I was ok but I was not great either, perhaps because I didn't start the Eneco Tour last week."


"We will try to defend this leader's jersey. Björn has 12 seconds now. He already won this race in 2011," sports director Steven de Neef said. "But we can't control everything. Racing is nervous here so we shall see."


"All will depend on the team," Leukemans reflects. "Are they strong enough to defend the lead? I have seen a strong team and I think they can do it.


"It is a possibility. I have an advantage and we will do everything to keep the yellow jersey in the team but the stages are not easy and we will have to deliver a big team effort until Friday to take the final victory.


"The win was a relief, it's my first win this yeat. Unlike 2011, I do not think the GC has been decided. There are riders like Rebellin and Taaramäe that are very strong. We'll see if we can defend the jersey tomorrow. For this, we need a strong team. I feel better than in 2011, but when I won it was also thanks to my team."



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