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“The team delivered a phenomenal performance and I should have been ashamed if I didn’t finish it off. I wouldn’t dare to show myself anymore."



24.08.2016 @ 22:45 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After almost two years in the team, Tom Van Asbroeck took his first win for LottoNL-Jumbo when he came out on top in a crash-marred bunch sprint on stage 2 of the Tour du Poitou-Charentes. After race leader Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) had hit the deck, he turned out to be the fastest as he held off Manuel Belletti (Wilier) and Marco Benfatto (Androni). The win was enough to move him into the overall lead.


We have gathered a few reactions.


Tom Van Asbroeck: I would have been ashamed not to have won this stage

Tom Van Asbroeck won the second stage of the Tour du Poitou Charentes today in France. Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s Belgian sprinter had goose bumps during the final kilometres of the stage because of his team-mates’ perfect lead-out and followed through with it, also taking the overall lead.


“I’m speechless,” Van Asbroeck said after his first victory as a Team LottoNL-Jumbo rider. “I yearned for a win. The team supported me. They believed in my chances even more than I did.


“I had goose bumps because of the team’s level. Bert-Jan Lindeman absolutely flew to the front straight through the wind in the final four kilometres of the race. When we only had 1.5 kilometres left, I still had four team-mates in front of me. That was when I thought, ‘Damn, we’re doing a great job!’


“I felt comfortable and that gave me a euphoric feeling. After Bert-Jan, Robert Wagner took the matters in his hands and Dennis van Winden brought us to the foot of the final hill afterwards. The pace Sep Vanmarcke set at that little uphill almost scared me. With 300 metres to go, he gave another knock at it. It was unbelievable, Sep is as strong as a bear.


“The team delivered a phenomenal performance and I should have been ashamed if I didn’t finish it off. I wouldn’t dare to show myself anymore.


"At 4 kilometers from the finish, the team took the lead. We had four riders in the train until Sep Vanmarcke perfectly led me out in the final. I launched my sprint 150m from the finish line, once Sep had swung off. At first, I did not expect to win, but I had not seen anyone go and it gave me an extra motivation for the very last meters. I felt that I really had great legs. I was not bothered by the crash because I was already in front. I am very happy with this win, having experienced many setbacks since last year. I often crashed in recent months and for once, I was spared. This is an important victory for me. It's beautiful.”


Sports Director Frans Maassen enjoyed his sprinter’s words.


“It’s great to hear Tom saying this,” he said. “There was a crash in the final sprint, but according to Sep, the other sprinters never would have been able to close the gap on Tom anyway. He didn’t steel this victory.


“The only setback of this stage was that Wilco Kelderman was involved in that crash, but he barely suffered any damage, fortunately.”


Andy Fenn gets rare chance to sprint, Gianni Moscon crashes

Andy Fenn avoided a late crash as the sprint unfolded on day two at the Tour du Poitou-Charentes to claim a fifth place finish.


Race leader Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), who was hunting back-to-back stage wins in France, went down in the melee and Tom Van Asbroeck (LottoNL - Jumbo) claimed the win, ahead of Manuel Belletti (Wilier - Southeast) and Marco Benfatto (Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec) and the Dutchman moved above Bouhanni at the top of the standings.


Gianni Moscon was caught up in the crash after leading out Fenn, but only suffered a small graze on his elbow and will be fine for tomorrow's time trial. 



Sport Director Brett Lancaster talked through the team's plan after the stage.


He said: "We had a plan for the guys to come quite late. There were a couple of little roundabouts that finished with 400m, but it was a pretty easy finish other than that. We left it late, Luke [Rowe] took them into the roundabouts and did a fantastic job, then Swifty took over, we had Gianni second last, he did a great job, then Andy hit out and finished fifth.


"Gianni came down in the crash, but he's fine. He's got a tiny scratch on his elbow but he's quite lucky looking at some of the other guys caught up in it."


Looking ahead at the final two days in France, Lancaster believes tomorrow's time trial will be pivotal in deciding the destination of the overall title.


He added: "Traditionally this race is generally won on the time trial. Pretty much every other stage is a sprint stage, and the strongest sprint teams here control the race so that it always does come down to a sprint. The last stage is a little opportunity - there's a 700m climb on the finishing circuit so that could cause a split.


"But Gianni is in good shape for tomorrow's time trial. He's been training for it and after winning the Arctic Race he's pretty confident."


Yauheni Hutarovich fractures collarbone in Poitou-Charentes crash

Yauheni Hutarovich (Fortuneo Vital Concept) crashed with Nacer Bouhanni, Danilo Napolitano and Rudy Barbier. The Belarusian broke his collarbone.


His teammate Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fortuneo Vital Concept) was in the break. He told Directvelo:


"I joined the break. I did the first sprint but then I saw that Pouilly and the Belgian rider (Sander Helven, ed.) fought for the KOMs  and sprints, so I did not try to get the points. I preferred to keep forces for the final. The goal was really to go for the stage. We tried to control the time gap. Felix (Pouilly) was a bit fiery. We wanted to have the maximum advantage at the bell. Three riders joined us in the final. So we continued to ride together. I was getting tried physically. I was dropped at the top of the last KOM. Then I let myself finish in the pack and keep the benefit of having scored bonus seconds. For the rest of the week, we will play the card of Dan (McLay). Yauheni (Hutarovich) should abandon after his big crash today. I think he broke his collarbone. For the TT, I will try to give everything with Eduardo Sepúlveda. "

Movistar TT specialists survive dangerous day in Poitou-Charentes

The Movistar Team riders directed by José Luis Jaimerena completed their day unscathed - with Jorge Arcas in 9th - as both Nelson Oliveira (14th) and Alex Dowsett (25th) coped better with heat - less intense in  today's 180km trek between La Rochelle and Niort - to get closer to Thursday's decisive TT in Châtellerault (23km). The time trial will put an end to a long day, as a double sector will start in the morning with a 95km road stage.


Søren Kragh Andersen crashes in Poitou-Charentes

Giant-Alpecin was again working for Søren Kragh iwho is enjoying some good legs but bad luck at the race so far. Today was again unfortunate as he came down in a crash in the final 100m, but the team is looking forward to more chances in the days ahead.


Coach Hans Timmermans gave his recap of the day after the finish: “I think again it was a good day of teamwork. Søren crashed in the last 100m and that is a real shame as he is sprinting well, but luckily he is not badly injured – given the speed was 60+kph it could have been a lot worse.”


Kragh added: “The team worked again really hard to keep me as fresh as possible going into the final. We were a bit too far back coming into the last corner but Bert [de Backer] brought me up until a reasonable position to still be able to go for a good result! Of course it is never nice to crash but I could be a lot worse!”


Roubaix talent shows himself in Poitou-Charentes

Félix Pouilly (Roubaix Lille Métropole Européenne) was in the break.


" I really had good legs. I knew I was not going to win the GC, so I wanted to give everything in a stage. In the end, I think I was the best guy in the group, so I attacked alone. I enjoyed myself. Then the group with Gougeard got back. We still had 25 seconds at the bottom of the last climb, and it was really fast. I believed in it. But on this last climb, we went too fast and we ended up just three. There, it became impossible. I'm still happy with my day. I think I had my best legs of the year. ". 


No major injuries for Nacer Bouhanni after bad crash in Poitou-Charentes

Nacer Bouhanni crashed heavily 40 meters from the finish of the 2nd stage of Tour du Poitou-Charentes.


"He has no fracture but he has the buttocks and shoulder,” Cofidis sports director Didier Rous told L’Equipe.

According to him, Bouhanni blames the crash on Danilo Napolitano (Wanty-Gobert) who also fell. An altercation between Cofidis riders and Dane Asbjorn Kragh (Delko-Marseille-Provence) ensued, each party blaming each other for the accident. "Some riders are not in their place in this kind of finish" , says Rudy Barbier (Roubaix-Lille Métropole) who is bruised and complaining of neck pain. “They have nothing to do in the game... "



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