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Dutchman exploits chaotic circumstances on windy day in the World Ports Classic to solo away from a 16-rider lead group and grab the stage win while Maes finishes 3rd and takes the overall win

Photo: Feltet.dk

JONATHAN CANTWELL

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LOTTO-DSTNY

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MAARTEN TJALLINGII

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TEAM VISMA | LEASE A BIKE

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WORLD PORTS CLASSIC

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31.08.2013 @ 16:35 Posted by Henriette Brandt

Maarten Tjallingii (Belkin) took a rare win on the final stage of the World Ports Classic when he escaped from a select 16-rider group on a very windy day in the Zeeland Province. Race leader Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen) had done an incredible job to mark out his rivals but missed the decisive split and lost the overall win to Nikolas Maes (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) whose 3nd place was enough to take over the top position.

 

Maarten Tjallingii is mostly known as a tireless domestique but today he got a rare chance to chase a personal result. He grabbed it with both hands when he soloed away from the 16-rider group that had formed in the chaotic, windy final stage of the World Ports Classic.

 

The Dutchman had made it into the group which had formed with 38km to go when the peloton had slowed down at the end of the day's only cobblestone sector. When Saxo-Tinkoff and Lotto Belisol couldn't agree on the responsibility to set the pace, he decided to go off on his own. Despite a fierce chase, he managed to hold off his former companions during the final 20km and took a beautiful solo win in the big port in Antwerp.

 

Race leader Jelle Wallays had done a fabulous job to mark all dangerous moves but in the end he paid the price for his lack of team support. When the 16-rider move went clear, his team had blown up in the windy conditions and so there was no team to lead the chase.

 

This meant that the overall win was to be decided among the riders in the chase group. Nikolas Maes was another rider who had a rare chance to go for a personal result and when he was only narrowly beaten by Frederique Robert (Lotto Belisol) in the sprint for 2nd, the bonus seconds were enough to give him the overall win ahead of Jonathan Cantwell (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Reinier Honig (Crelan).

 

With the win, Omega Pharma-Quick Step has taken the two first editions of the new race after Tom Boonen won the inaugural edition one year ago.

 

A windy stage

The 193km stage brought the riders from yesterday's start in Rotterdam to yesterday's start in Antwerp and traversed the very windy Zeeland region. As there was a strong crosswind in the opening part of the race, a fierce battle and a dramatic race was expected.

 

The early part pf the race was extremely hectic. An early 7-rider group containing Mark Renshaw (Belkin) and Jacob Rathe (Garmin) was quickly brought back and instead, Stijn Steels (Crelan) and Pim Ligthart (Vacansoleil) went on the attack. However, the peloton split into three groups in the strong crosswinds and this spelled the end for the breakaway.

 

A break is formed

Race leader Jelle Wallays was safely positioned in the front group and it all came back together. Instead, Rathe and Louis Verhelst (Cofidis) attacked while Bobbie Traksel (Champion System) set off in pursuit. They were allowed to build up a 1.40 gap and took the maximum points in the first intermediate sprint. Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) picked up the final bonus second on offer.

 

Moments later, the peloton once again exploded in the crosswinds and so all escapees were reeled in. 52 riders remain in the first group - Wallays had once again made the split - and Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) was one of the riders who had been left behind.

 

The race settles down

The pace has been fast and the riders covered 94km during the first two hours. When the riders turned into a tailwind,  the race settled into a more steady rhythm with Bert Grabsch (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Stig Broeckx (Lotto Belisol) setting a steady pace on the front to prevent the second peloton - which was led by Argos-Shimano and Champion System - from rejoining their group.

 

With 60km to go, Lotto tried to attack on a small bridge when Greipel launched an acceleration in the crosswinds. A 10-rider group got clear and Wallays had missed the move. However, he had luck on his side when other teams brough it back together.

 

Aggressive racing

Lars Bak (Lotto) was the next to attack but Wallays closed it down. Lotto had, however, decided to throw all they had against Wallays and so Marcel Sieberg (Lotto) countered the move. He was joined by Jean-Pierre Drucker (Accent) and Jonas Aaen (Saxo-Tinkoff)  and later by Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) but Topsport Vlaanderen brought it back together.

 

Lotto riders Greipel and Jonas Vangenechten both made counterattacks and the fierce pace saw the peloton blow to pieces in the crosswind. More attacks ensued but Wallays made it into all the key moves.

 

Bak in attacking mood

Bak was the next to attack and he was joined by Aaen and Tjallingii. More riders bridged across and when Wallays was one of those, everything once again came to a standstill.

 

Bak was in attacking mood and so went off on his own. The peloton slowed completely down and so he was allowed to build up a 30 second gap.

 

Attack on the cobbles

When they approached the only cobblestone sector of the day, Omega Pharma-Quick Step put down the hammer, and the Belgian strung out the main group completely. Niki Terpstra and Trentin both took huge turns on the front and only 20 riders were left when they exited the sector.

 

The Belgian team stopped their effort as Wallays had made the selection and Honig used the opportunity to counter the move. Gradually more riders bridged across and suddenly a 15-rider group had assembled.

 

The decisive group is formed

All the big teams were represented and only Topsport Vlaanderen were missed out. Hence, Maes, Robert, Broeckx, Vangenechten, Roy Curvers (Argos), Tjallingii, Maarten Wynants (Belkin), Wouter Mol (Vacansoleil), Bryan Coquard (Europcar), Alexander Porsev (Katusha), Marko Kump (Saxo-Tinkoff), Aaen, Cantwell (Saxo-Tinkoff), Tristan Valentin (Cofidis) and Honig were allowed to build up a big gap. Topsport Vlaanderen tried to organize a chase but had only Wallays and Kenneth Vanbilsen and so the race was set to be decided by the 15-rider group and Bak.

 

Initially, there was a strong cooperation in the chase group and with 25km to go, they caught Bak. Maes went back to his team car and was ordered not to pull and suddenly all the work was left to Saxo-Tinkoff. Catnwell had taken 2 bonus seconds in the final intermediate sprint by beating Porsev in the sprint for 2nd behind Bak and so the team had a good chance of winning the race.

 

Tjallingii attacks

The Danish team was unwilling to do all the work and when they slowed down, Tjallingii took off. He quickly built up a 20-second gap and so Saxo-Tinkoff decided to sacrifice Kump and Aaen.

 

The race evolved into a pursuit but when the Saxo riders were unable to get any closer to Tjallingii, Lotto also put Bak on the front. Those three riders started to get closer to the Dutchman who was still 10 seconds ahead with 2km to go.

 

Kump doesn't make it

Bak had now finished his work and a little later, Aaen also dropped off. Hence, all the work in the final kilometre was left to Kump and the Slovenian was unable to catch Tjallingii. The Dutchman took his first professional win since 2006 in beautiful solo fashion.

 

Maes and Robert went head-to-head in the battle for 2nd. Robert was declared winner in a photo finish but that didn't matter at all for Maes. He took the overall win by virtue of bonus seconds while Cantwell and Honig completed the podium.

 

Result:

1. Maarten Tjallingii 3.55.16

2. Frederique Robert +0.03

3. Nikolas Maes

4. Alexander Porsev

5. Jonas Vangenechten

6. Wouter Mol

7. Maarten Wynants

8. Roy Curvers

9. Jonathan Cantwell

10. Reinier Honig

 

General classification:

1. Nikolas Maes 7.28.10

2. Jonathan Cantwell +0.02

3. Reinier Honig

4. Alexander Porsev +0.03

5. Roy Curvers +0.04

6. Wouter Mol

7. Tristan Valentin

8. Stig Broeckx

9. Marku Kump +0.15

10. Jonas Vangenechten +0.30

 

Points classification:

1. Nikolas Maes 33

2. Alexander Porsev 33

3. Jonathan Cantwell 30

4. Andre Greipel 29

5. Maarten Tjallingii 25

 

Youth classification:

1. Stig Broeckx 7.28.13

2. Marko Kump +0.11

3. Frederique Robert +1.58

4. Bryan Coquard +2.04

5. Jelle Wallays +7.21

 

Teams classification:

1. Lotto Belisol 22.25.05

2. Saxo-Tinkoff +0.38

3. Belkin +7.31

4. Omega Pharma-Quick Step +15.31

5. Katusha

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