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"Before we found out who was in the breakaway the gap was already at two minutes. And so we never came back on it anymore. It was not such a good day.”

Photo: Trek Factory Racing


25.07.2015 @ 20:48 Posted by Andy Pedersen

The Tour of Wallonie kicked off Saturday, but it was not the start that Trek Factory Racing director Dirk Demol expected when the team missed the day’s key escape that ended up riding to the finish.


“The weather was terrible, all day rain and 13-14 degrees [Celsius]. I wanted the boys to be careful at the start because we had immediately a climb, the Côte de Ben-Ahin, and a break went with 14 riders without us,” Demol told.


“Because everyone had rain jackets on it took a while before we had the numbers. I was not happy that riders like Popo [Popovych] and Hayden [Roulston] didn’t set the pace immediately because before we found out who was in the breakaway the gap was already at two minutes. And so we never came back on it anymore. It was not such a good day.”


Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quick Step) won the 190.7-kilometer stage and took the first leader’s jersey of the five–day race as nine men succeeded ahead of the peloton. Danny van Poppel sprinted to 11th, second out of the bunch that arrived one minute and five seconds in arrears.


“Both Jesse [Sergent] and Hayden have not raced since the Classics and it was hard for them to start again, especially with the bad weather. Fabio was perhaps the only one who could follow at the start, but he also had 50 days without racing and was not good at the start,” Demol continued


“Jesse had problems quite early and was off with 15 riders and they were so far behind that the commissaires stopped them. They have the right to take riders out of the race, they don’t always do that but today this is what they did.”


The race continues around the French speaking part of Belgium tomorrow with stage two, another up and down affair, and the team will now focus primarily on stage wins with the fast legs of Danny van Poppel and Fabio Felline.


“At the end the 9 stayed away from the 14 and Danny was second in the sprint from the peloton. So in the next days we will focus on stage wins. Danny looks good and there are a few uphill finishes that suit Fabio. We have four more days to get a stage win,” Demol said.



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