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"When Sean picked up the three points in the first intermediate sprint, it gave me some fright. Suddenly, my advantage was only two seconds. We had miscalculated a little for that sprint because I went 200 meters too early."

Photo: Sirotti


19.06.2016 @ 23:56 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Wim Stroetinga (Parkhotel Valkenburg) again proved that he can beat the fastest sprinters in the world when he took a surprise victory on the final stage of the Ster ZLM Toer. In a crash-marred bunch kick, he held off the LottoNL-Jumbo pair of Dylan Groenewegen and Sep Vanmarcke but the latter could console himself with the fact that he took the overall win ahead of Sean De Bie (Lotto Soudal) and his teammate Jos van Emden.


We have gathered several reactions.


Sep Vanmarcke: Sean De Bie gave me a scare

LottoNL-Jumbo’s Sep Vanmarcke won the Ster ZLM Toer today in Boxtel, the Netherlands. He placed third in the last stage to clinch the overall title. His biggest competitor Sean De Bie (Lotto-Soudal) won an intermediate sprint and moved within two seconds of Vanmarcke. He failed to gain more time in the day, closed with a stage victory for Wim Stroetinga (Parkhotel Valkenburg).


"This victory is very important,” Vanmarcke said. “This is the first ever stage race victory for me.


"It was a very exciting race, we did not know exactly where the intermediate sprint was and then De Bie won. He grabbed three seconds back and I became a bit scared. For the final intermediate sprint, I was sitting on the wheel of De Bie ready, but the breakaway took the seconds.”


"When Sean picked up the three points in the first intermediate sprint, it gave me some fright. Suddenly, my advantage was only two seconds. We had miscalculated a little for that sprint because I went 200 meters too early. Then I was very frustrated. It was important not to lose morale.


"I felt good in the stage, strong enough to go for the sprint. In the end I was confident that we were going to win here. With the team we agreed that the overall victory was a priority, not the stage victory. I did not help our sprinter Dylan Groenewegen in the sprint train and was allowed to take my own chance. I would look at De Bie in the final. Eventually I found myself in a good position and I could be third. There was so much chaos in the last kilometers. It is unfortunate that Dylan is second, but we agreed that overall victory was the most important, and they succeeded. This victory is very important, mentally I feel very well and physically I'm fine. I'm very pleased, this is the first stage race win. "


"We've had two races in one today,” said Sport director Nico Verhoeven. “Our plan was to get the stage win and the overall. In the sprint we noticed that we were not 100% ready for stage victory and Dylan Groenewegen finished second. A race in the Netherlands is always important for our team. And if you win the prologue with Van Emden, two stages and the points jersey with Groenewegen, the team ranking and the overall title, you're obviously pleased. With Lotto-Soudal and Etixx, arrived with strong teams for the sprints, so this result is more than we dared to dream.”


Vanmarcke added:


“It is unfortunate that Dylan was second, but we agreed that overall victory was the most important, and we succeeded."


Maarten Tjallingii ends his career on final day at the Ster ZLM Toer

Maarten Tjallinigii celebrated his final day as a professional with today’s stage.


"I’m happy for the wins, but at the same time, I know that my career is over. I do not know how to handle this. In the coming hours and days, I’ll realise it, I guess. I will miss my team-mates a lot. This team is more than just a team, we have grown closer together and give everything for each other.”


"Maarten has a big work spirit,” Verhoeven explained. “A no-nonsense rider. Maarten is the first to raise his hand if you need some work done. He did a tremendous job in his last race”.


Triumphant Wim Stroetinga: It’s a lot easier when you are not a favourite

”I wanted to hide myself in view of the Dutch Championsips at the end of this week,” Wim Stroetinga said. “But if you get such an opportunity like this, you don’t want to miss it.


"I knew that I was very good today," he told Wielerflits. "Yesterday I saved myself and now I won, It is really fantastic. It's a lot easier when you're not a favorite. If I'm third, it is already very nice. Those riders have to finish it off.”


The Giro pays off for strong Sean De Bie at the Ster ZLM Toer

The peloton was on its way to a bunch sprint, when a crash occurred in the last kilometre. Sean De Bie was one of the riders involved. De Bie finished on the second place overall, six seconds behind Vanmarcke.


Sean De Bie said:


“Together with the entire team I did all I could to get the leader’s jersey back today. I won the first intermediate sprint and therefore I was only two seconds down on Vanmarcke. The teammates led me to the second intermediate sprint, but then I made the wrong tactical decision and I got boxed in. In the sprint at the finish I was involved in a crash, but then I wasn’t in the running for top three anymore. It seems that I only have some abrasions.


“I can look back on the Ster ZLM Toer with satisfaction. I notice that completing the Giro, my first Grand Tour, has made me stronger. Of course I was tired at the end of the Giro, then I took some rest the next two weeks and I stood fresh at the start in Goes. I knew the prologue suited me, as I was fourth last year, but now there were some bigger names at the start like Küng and Phinney. I set the fifth time, which is a nice result.


“During stage three we handled it the right way and thanks to the bonus seconds I could take the leader’s jersey that day. I won an intermediate sprint and was third at the finish. André Greipel had ridden aggressively during the stage and told me I could do the sprint. I had the help of one of the best lead-outs in the world with André, Henderson, Sieberg and a strong Jasper De Buyst. It gave me confidence that I could count on them.


”Yesterday, we controlled the race all day long. With the six of us we entered the local circuit, I didn’t have to do anything until that point. Sep Vanmarcke was too strong at La Gileppe though, but I was happy with the fourth place.


“Next week I’ll ride the Belgian Championships time trial and road race. My condition is good so if I recover enough I can be confident for those races. Although I have to wait and see if I really don’t have anything other than abrasions after today’s crash. In the time trial on Thursday I can achieve a top five result. The stage to La Gileppe proved that I’m ready for the road race on Sunday at Lacs de l’Eau d’Heure.”


”An intense week with @Lotto_Soudal family behind me @SterZLMtoer.We fought 4 @Sean_Bieke to win yellow but he stayed 2nd in GC #tunedthelegs,” André Greipel tweeted.


Giant-Alpecin neo-pros Kragh and Walscheid shine at Ster ZLM TOer

For Team Giant-Alpecin Max Walscheid sprinted to 10th. Søren Ktagh Andersen finished 4th in the final GC.


Max Walscheid said: “It was good teamwork even though we only had three guys today. I think we did a really good job throughout the stage and for the lead-out. In the end, I didn’t have the last push but it was good to be back and contesting in a real bunch sprint again. This gives me confidence for the upcoming races.”


After the stage, Søren Kragh Andersen said: “It has been a good week of racing and I am satisfied with my overall performance. My shape has improved day by day and I am looking forward to the upcoming period of racing.”


Coach Mattias Reck added: “Even with a smaller team this week, we have performed well with good teamwork and it has also been a very important step for the development of our young riders like Søren and Max.”


Davide Martinelli proud of first top 5 in big stage race

Sprint from a reduced group, put in a strong time trial, go over hills and fight for a good GC, Davide Martinelli proved he can do it all in the months that have passed since signing with Etixx – Quick-Step. Winner of a stage in Tour La Provence and part of the team that helped Marcel Kittel get a record fourth victory in Scheldeprijs, the 23-year-old didn't came with too much expectations at the start of the 30th edition of Ster ZLM Toer, but as the race progressed, he found the legs to fight for a good place in the overall standings and showcase his talent.


Fortunately, no Etixx – Quick-Step rider was involved in the crash, which meant Davide Martinelli safely completed the stage between Someren and Boxtel (186 kilometers) and finished the event in 5th place, 23 seconds behind the winner. Following Sunday's race, and just before embarking on a flight back home, Martinelli explained what this result means for him:


"I can't believe it, to do a top 5 in a short stage race in my first year as a pro is a big achievement. On Saturday, in the most important stage, I was able to stay with some of the best riders, some of them with many World Tour seasons under their belt. I am satisfied with this and I look with even more confidence to the National Championships, where I hope to be at a good level."


Kenny Dehaes: A better result was possible

Kenny Dehaes got a fifth place in the last stage. 

"The sprint was chaotic with a crash with 500 m to go,” he said. “I lost Napolitano's wheel. I was too far behind in the last corner at 300 meter from the finish. The team worked well. Marco Marcato and Danilo Napolitano put me in a good position. A better result was possible but this kind of sprint doesn't suit me very well."


IAM unfortunate at the Ster ZLM Toer

Though it’s undeniable that Leigh Howard failed to achieve the main goal of the day for IAM in the mass sprint, which was of course to win the stage, mitigating circumstances must be considered: the Australian rider, who was the designated sprinter for the Swiss team at the ZLM, has been hampered by pain in the perineum, which has prevented him from racing to the best of his abilities. Consequently, he was converted into a teammate deluxe with Roger Kluge.


 “We really were unlucky at this ZLM,” directeur sportif Kjell Carlström conceded. “Having started with eight riders, we had to deal with three of them needing to abandon mid-race, greatly reducing the impact of the work that the team could do. Nevertheless, this didn’t prevent a few of our riders from distinguishing themselves. Roger Kluge took a fine fourth place in the time trial. And Vegard Stake Laengen came very close to winning on Saturday after an impressive solo attempt.”


“Simon [Pellaud] has performed very well throughout this week,” Carlström pointed out. “I certainly noted his attacking temperament.” 


Valiant and careful in his efforts, the young Swiss rider finished the ZLM satisfied. 


“The profile was varied throughout the week. This allowed me to do a good block of work in preparation for the Swiss national championships next week. I feel I have progressed and I have moved up to a good level this season.”


The German rider Roger Kluge, who recently won a stage at the Giro, finished in sixth place in the overall classification, 30 seconds behind the winner, Sep Vanmarcke.


Shaken by a violent crash 500 meters from the finish line, the peloton finished the event somewhat banged up. Fortunately, none of the riders from the Swiss IAM Cycling team were among those to hit the ground.


BMC stars on the attack on final day at the Ster ZLM Toer

On the final day of racing at Ster ZLM Toer - GP Jan van Heeswijk, three BMC Racing Team riders went on the attack before Jempy Drucker eventually finished seventh behind stage winner, Wim Stroetinga (Parkhotel Valkenburg Cycling Team).


A fast pace was set right from the start of today’s fifth and final stage with the peloton keeping a tight grip on all of the day’s breakaway attempts.


Stefan Küng was the first BMC Racing Team rider to make a move as he joined an early group of 13 riders. However the peloton responded quickly to this attack and they group was quickly caught.


After being in the day’s breakaway yesterday, Joey Rosskopf showed little sign of fatigue as he made a move after the first intermediate sprint of the day. The six-rider group was able to extended the biggest lead of the day but was eventually caught with around 70 kilometres of racing to go.


It was then the turn of Taylor Phinney at the front of the race. With 40 kilometers to go, he made an explosive move off the front of the peloton with three other riders and they were able to maintain their lead right up until the last five kilometers before the race headed for a final bunch sprint.


Sport Director Jackson Stewart said: “We definitely went all in today! It was tough for everyone, it was a flat stage with no wind and two teams who really wanted to control the race for the finish. We also had a battle going for time bonuses and because of that we definitely set out to be in the action today.


“Küng tried early in a big, really good move that looked like it good have affected some of the other GC teams but it was quickly pulled back. Joey then went, followed by Phinney and then Drucker was up there for the sprint. It was a pretty dangerous sprint though and the guys didn’t want to take too many risks.


“Overall I think we rode really well this week. I am happy with the effort from all the riders. Some of the results could have gone our way a bit more but the good signs are that the guys we really strong and raced well we just didn’t get the results we wanted.”


Jempy Drucker said: “It was a tough day today! The pace was really fast all the way to finish and the team really worked hard to be on the attack all day. To have three top ten results at this race is really good. I am feeling in good form right now and hopefully I will be able continue racing hard and keep getting results moving forward.”


Successful Ster ZLM Toer for Roompot

With a stage win for Wesley Kreder and riders playing a significant role in the finals of virtually all other stages, Roompot - Orange Peloton had reason to look back at the Ster ZLM Toer with satisfaction.


After the successful escape on Thursday, Wesley Kreder chose to attack again one day later. He animated the stage and in the finale Sjoerd van Ginneken tried a move. Alongside world champion Wout van Aert, he was caught ten kilometers from the finish.  André Looij who had to come back in the final lap after a puncture, finished eleventh.


Ivar Slik was the man in the break of the day on Saturday. Together with nine other riders, he animated the queen stage. Van Ginneken (20th), Tim Kerkhof (23rd) and Brian Van Goethem (30th) stayed in the first group in the tricky finish in Wallonia.


In the final stage, Wesley Kreder attacked in the finale but the sprint was unavoidable this time.  André Looij finished 12th Van Goethem was involved in a crash in the last kilometer and got abrasions on the back and a big headache. 19th in the standings and thus the best placed rider from Roompot - Orange Peloton, he hopes that will not endanger his participation in the National TT Championships.


Wout Van Aert confident for Belgian Championships after good ride at Ster ZLM Toer

For Crelan, the race started with a top ten place for Wout van Aert in the prologue in Goes where David Boucher also did well despite suffering from a fever. On ThursdayTim Merlier distinguished himself in the sprint where he took fifth in the wake of André Greipel.


Friday's stage was colored by a lot of rain and ... Wout van Aert, who attacked in the final 70km. The bad news were that the team leader lost his GC chances.


The team delivered a marvelous performance in the queen stage. Xandro Meurisse was in the break and in the finale the finale he delivered Van Aert in the best possible position at the bottom of the final climb. The leader did not disappoint even though an error at the most crucial moment saw him finish second.


Today Rob Ruijgh tried to escape but a bunch sprint was inevitable. Gerry Druyts (20th) and Dennis Coenen (24th) were in the top 25.


The whole team looks back with satisfaction.  Like in the Four Days of Dunkirk (where Meurissse won the queen stage) and the Tour of Belgium where Van Aert won the prologue and spent two days in the leader's jersey, the team proved that it can do well against WorldTour teams


"These ZLM Toer was for me mainly the final preparation for the national championships next Sunday in Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure,” said Van Aert afterwards. "And I have to be pleased. I felt that I could ​​grow in this five-day race and despite the attack on Friday, I recovered quickly and well for Saturday. Of course it is a pity that I could not finish it off in La Gileppe, but I go back home with a good feeling. What now remains for me is a good week of rest to be ready for the national championships. I hope to be with the best as long as possible. If I succeed, I'll be very happy. But anyway, I already look back on a good road campaign.



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