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After a very aggressive race, Stroetinga came out on top in a crash-marred sprint on the final stage of Ster ZLM Toer as he beat Groenewegen and Vanmarcke; the latter took the overall win ahead of De Bie and van Emden

Photo: Ulrik Møberg,














19.06.2016 @ 19:22 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.


Wim Stroetinga may be mostly known for his track skills but he has also developed into a very capable road sprinter. He has a number of victories in smaller events and in 2012 he beat the WorldTour sprinters at the Nationale Sluitingsprijs.


Since that race, Stroetinga hasn’t won a race with riders from the elite of the sport but today he again proved that he has not slowed down. In the final stage of the Ster ZLM Toer – the race which is known as the final Tour de France preparation race for the big sprinters and has gathered riders like Marcel Kittel, André Greipel and Dylan Groenewegen – he confirmed his class by coming out on top in a crash-marred battle between the fastest riders. The crash took Kittel and Greipel out of contention but Stroetinga still showed impressive speed to deny the in-form Groenewegen another win as the Dutchman had to settle for second.


However, it was still a great day for LottoNL-Jumbo as Sep Vanmarcke finished third. He had started the stage with a 5-second advantage over Sean De Bie but it had been reduced to just 2 seconds when the Belgian won the first intermediate sprint. The third place saw Vanmarcke extend the gap to 6 seconds and so he took the first stage race win of his career.


After yesterday’s queen stage, the sprinters were expected to come to the fore in the final stage which brought the riders over 186.5km from Someren to the traditional finish in Boxtel. The first 119.9km of flat racing led the riders to the finish. Here they ended the stage by doing one lap of a 27.2km circuit and two laps of a 19.7km circuit. Both were completely flat.


The riders that reached the finish yesterday were all present when the riders gathered for the start under a dry sky. A special tribute was given to Maarten Tjallingii (LottoNL-Jumbo) in the neutral zone but it was war as soon as the flag was dropped.


The early attacks resulted in the formation of a strong 15-rider group with Maxime Monfort (Lotto Soudal), Davide Martinelli (Etixx-QuickStep), Tjallingii, Stefan Küng (BMC), Dries van Gestel (Topsport), Mark McNally, Danilo Napolitano (Wanty), Brian van Goethem (Roompot), Clement Venturini (Cofidis), Taco van der Hoorn (De Rijke), Gert-Jan Bosman (Jo Piels), Peter Lenderink (Rabobank), Marco Doets (Baby-Dump), Rob Ruijgh (Crelan) and Dick Janssen (3M). The latter was dropped as they worked hard to push their advantage out to 25 seconds.


LottoNL-Jumbo were chasing but had to stop their work to bring Vanmarcke back after 25km of fast racing. As soon as he was back, they started to chase again and that had an effect. When the gap had dropped to 7 seconds, Ruijgh made a solo move but it all came back together after the hectic opening.


While Jordi Talen (De Rijke) crashed, the attacking continued but no one managed to get clear at the end of the first hour during which 50km had been covered. Things were still together at the first intermediate sprint where Sean De Bie (Lotto Soudal) reduced his overall deficit to 2 seconds by beating Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Roger Kluge (IAM) in the battle for bonus seconds. Meanwhile, Elias van Breussegem (Veranda’s), Robin Stenuit (Wanty), Talen and Jordan Kerby (Drapac) abandoned.


After the sprint, McNally, Mirko Tedeschi (Wilier), Florian Senechal, Hugo Hofstetter (Cofidis), Taco can der Hoorn (De Rijke), Rick Ottema, Tom Vermeer (Baby-Dump) and Gianni Vermeersch (Crelan) escaped but they never got an advantage of more than  10 seconds. More attacks were launched until Joey Rosskopf (BMC), Kenneth Vanbilsen (Cofidis), van der Hoorn, Twan van den Brand (Jo Poels) and Martijn Tusveld (Rabobank) finally got some freedom.


For the first time, the peloton calmed a bit down and allowed the gap to go out to 1.15 but then Lotto Soudal started to chase. At the 90km mark, the gap had already dropped to 45 seconds and it stayed around that mark for a while.


As the peloton managed to bring the gap down to 20 seconds, the front group split as Vanbilsen and Tusveld were left behind. They fought hard to maintain a 10-second advantage but as LottoNL-Jumbo, Lotto Soudal and Etixx-QuickStep ramped up the speed for the second sprint, the trio was caught. However, their efforts failed as it was Roger Kluge (IAM) who won the battle for the points ahead of the Topsport pair of Gijs Van Hoecke and Pieter Vanspeybrouck.


After the sprint, Jeroen Meijers (Rabobank), Simon Pellaud (IAM), Ruijgh and van Goethem escaped but they never got an advantage of more than 10 seconds. Instead, Taylor Phinney (BMC) attacked and he was joined by Jetse Bol (De Rijke), McNally, Jochem Hoekstra, Jasper Ockeloen (Parkhotel) and Twan Brusselman (Jo Piels) to form a sextet.


When the gap had gone out to 30 seconds, Bob Schoonbroodt (3M) tried to bridge across but he was stuck at that distance as the peloton entered the final 50km 45 seconds behind the leaders. Etixx-QuickStep soon started to chase though and kept the gap stable while Oscar Riesebeek became the next riders to abandon.


Schoonbrodt refused to give up and stayed on his own for almost 20km before he was brought back at the 150km mark. At this point, Lotto Soudal and LottoNL-Jumbo had taken over the pace-setting, keeping the gap at 45 seconds.


With 30km to go, the gap had dropped to 25 seconds and as the escape increased the speed, Bol and Ockeloen were dropped. Phinney, Hoeckstra, McNally and Brusselman managed to push the advantage out to 50 seconds but with 20km to go, it was again down to 30 seconds.


McNally tried to make a solo move and managed to maintain a 20-second advantage while Phinney was caught. Wesley Kreder (Roompot) joined Brusselman and Hoekstra and they joined McNally to make ti a quartet again.


However, they failed to stay clear and with 5km to go, it was all set for a bunch sprint. LottoNL-Jumbo gathered their train on the front and led the peloton under the 3km to go banner. Etixx-QuickStep tried to pass them but the sprint got disrupted by a big crash. Stroetinga emerged from the chaos to take the win ahead of Groenewegen and Vanmarcke.


The third place saw Vanmarcke take the overall win with a 6-second advantage over De Bie. His teammate Jos van Emden was 10 seconds further adrift in third. Groenewegen won the points competition and Jimmy Janssens (3M) was the best climb. Peter Lenderink (Rabobank) won the sprints competition and LottoNL-Jumbo was the best team.


With the Ster ZLM Toer done and dusted, the attention turns to the national championships which are held during the next week. The next major international event in the Netherlands is the Arnhem-Veenendaal Classic on August 19.



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