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"I feel bad for Nikias as we were meant to be sprinting for him. I was in a bad position and couldn’t get back to them so the only thing I could do was put in a  big effort on my own."

Photo: A.S.O.








17.02.2015 @ 16:27 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

At the end of the 161km opening leg from Bayt Al Naman Castle to Al Wutayyah the peloton was all together to dispute the first bunch sprint of the race. On the slightly uphill 300m drag to the line Andrea Guardini (Astana) proved fastest with Sinkeldam moving up alongside the barriers to place in the top placings.


The stage had been highlighted by a breakaway of four riders that never threatened to make it to the finish. Their advantage grew to four minutes by the first intermediate sprint after 47km but after they started to attack each other ahead of the second sprint their chances vanished.


Inside of 30km to race the bunch was all back together and a bunch sprint looked likely as the lead-out formations started to take shape at the front of the peloton. Team Giant-Alpecin placed Sinkeldam and Anrdt in position in the closing kilometres but neither could hit the front as the uphill sprint unfolded.


The team’s GC hopeful, Warren Barguil finished safely in the bunch as did Carter Jones in his first outing for Team Giant-Alpecin.


After the stage, Ramon Sinkeldam said: “It was a really hectic final today and I made a mistake and lost Nikias and Tom [Veelers] in preparation for the sprint. I feel bad for Nikias as we were meant to be sprinting for him. I was in a bad position and couldn’t get back to them so the only thing I could do was put in a  big effort on my own. I came out of the final corner from way back but did a really good sprint. From that position it was impossible to get a top result, and it’s a shame the plan didn’t work out.”


Coach Marc Reef added: “The plan today was to go for the sprint with Nikias and to avoid wasting energy in chasing, saving it to make sure we rode as a team. After talking with the guys to analyse how it went, we can see that we started to be in position at the front too early, and we paid for this in the final kilometres. In the final kilometre the communication wasn’t spot on and the guys lost each other. Tom [Veelers] managed to get Nikias into position but Nikias hesitated and missed his sprint.


“Ramon had to improvise on his own and came from 25th through the last corner to take fourth. In the end we salvaged a result but it is a day that we can turn to our benefit to learn from in the coming days.”



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