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"To have both Giacomo and Jasper puncture at the end was a pity, but Danny still finished 5th. We gave it a try, and more and more he is showing - he is only 21 - that give him one-two years to get stronger and he is there. He already...

Photo: Trek Factory Racing






02.10.2014 @ 19:44 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Trek decided to support Danny Van Poppel in the sprint on the first stage of the Tour de l'Eurometropole. However, the Belgian lost key lead-out men when both Giacomo Nizzolo and Jasper Stuyven punctured in the finale.


The four-day Eurométropole Tour opened with a 185.8-kilometer stage Thursday, which saw a five-man breakaway escape after 30 kilometers, but easily controlled and caught back with less than 20 kilometers remaining. This set off another flurry of attacks, which continued to the final kilometers as various riders and teams attempted to spoil the mass sprint finish, but in the end it all came down to one large bunch stampeding into the last kilometer.


Arnaud Démare ( jumped to the win, with Adrien Petit (Cofidis) and Jens Keukeleire (Orica GreenEdge) rounding out the top three. Danny van Poppel was a close fifth after two of Trek Factory Racing's two key leadout men suffered untimely punctures in the technical and undulating local laps at the end of stage.


“With 24 teams and 183 riders at the start and good weather it was almost certain to finish in a bunch sprint," sports director Dirk Demol said. "Giant Shimano and FDJ controlled the five riders, and in the end Kristof [Vandewalle] was in a small breakaway, so we gave it a go.


Giacomo punctured in the last 35 kilometers but he came back, but more crucial was the puncture of Jasper [Stuyven] with less than 10k to go. He managed to come back but [our sprint] was disorganized because Jasper more and more is a guy who is very important in the lead-out. 


"We had four circuits of 16kms at the end, and the parcours was really narrow.  So having the punctures in the final laps…it was very difficult to come back. To have both Giacomo and Jasper puncture at the end was a pity, but Danny still finished 5th. We gave it a try, and more and more he is showing - he is only 21 – that give him one-two years to get stronger and he is there. He already has two wins this year. He always tries and that is good to see.


"Today could have been tricky with the narrow roads in the finale, and it was always a little up and down, not dead flat. But the weather was too good, no wind, 22-23 degrees [celcius], which is exceptional for this time of year in Belgium. On paper the next two days are the easiest, and the last day is a little harder again. For sure more bunch sprints are coming up.”


Trek Factory Racing brought two proven sprinters (Giacomo Nizzolo and Danny van Poppel) to the Eurométropole Tour, a race for sprinters, and often the decision is made on the road who will go for the sprint, added director Dirk Demol:


“We have two good sprinters in Giacomo and Danny and it makes it hard to decide which card we will play. They have to see in the race how they feel, and Giacomo has been almost three weeks without racing, and for Danny only 10 days.  He had some good results lately showing he has good condition – 3rd in Leuven, 5th in Koolskamp.  They decide in the race together, and today, very professionally, they decided to play the card of Danny. Maybe from tomorrow, and after tomorrow, it will be Giacomo.


"When you are always around top 5, top 6, you are close; it can be 50-50 to winning a race if you keep the confidence in our young guys. They are knocking on the door. Giacomo we have seen four times second at the Giro, two times third – for sure the day will come when he wins a big race. When that will be we have to see. But you have to keep trying and keep fighting.”



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