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“In the sprint I was a little far back but Boy rode me to the front, we took a lot of risks but it was a perfect leadout to 200 meters to go and then I went full gas over him. It was an easy win for me after all the work of the team.&...

Photo: Trek Factory Racing

DANNY VAN POPPEL

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TOUR DE WALLONIE 

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27.07.2015 @ 01:08 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Danny van Poppel took advantage of some fantastic teamwork to win the second stage at the Tour de Wallonie Sunday.  Trek Factory Racing, with only five men in the race, used its limited resources perfectly to lead van Poppel to the victory on his birthday, a wonderful present for the 22-year-old.

 

“It was special that I can win on my birthday,” said an elated van Poppel. “It was a hard race with a lot of climbs - never flat.  In the middle of the race a big group went away and [Etixx] Quick Step pulled full gas and that made it really hard.

 

“I felt good already in the training camp we made with the team, but it’s not always easy to win when you are feeling good, so to do it, and on my birthday is something. My mom and girlfriend were there today and they don’t often come to my races so that was really special, too.”

 

Breakaways animated the 171.4-kilometer stage two at the Tour de Wallonie, but Trek Factory Racing played possum, choosing to lay low and chance everything would come together at the end.

 

 

In the closing kilometers, the pinstripes kicked into action. Yaroslav Popovych and Hayden Roulston pulled hard at the front to help neutralize the last remnants of an escape group, and in the finale Boy van Poppel gave a flawless lead out for his brother and Danny sealed the deal with his second victory of the season.

 

“Five kilometers before the finish there was an 800-meter climb and we knew that [Philippe] Gilbert would attack there so the team dropped me in good position there and I was really strong on the climb and I think we were gone with six riders, all the big names, we had a small gap, but no one wanted to work together and were caught back on the descent," van Poppel said.

 

“In the sprint I was a little far back but Boy rode me to the front, we took a lot of risks but it was a perfect leadout to 200 meters to go and then I went full gas over him. It was an easy win for me after all the work of the team. I felt strong today.

 

"There are some days, like in Cerami, when I have been beaten by a very strong Philippe Gilbert. It's my birthday today. In my heart, I hoped to win, even if I did not dare to think about it. In the end, we did a big chase behind the break. My brother Boy positioned me perfectly in the final kilometers that were quite dangerous. To win another stage will be difficult. I think the other days suit Fabio Felline more."
 

Director Dirk Demol was pleased the team turned around a less than stellar first stage Saturday and did so in the best way possible.

 

“Today was good – a couple breaks today, but we just stayed calm,” explained Demol by phone. “In the final Popo [Popovych] and Hayden pulled and in the end Boy did a perfect leadout for his brother so that brought us the win today.”

 

“I knew that we could win today with Danny. I saw him riding strong at the team training camp in the Alps that we organized for the riders during the Tour de France, and last week in GP Cerami with his second place he proved his condition is there.  He also had the extra motivation today with his birthday. I told the boys for sure there would be cake tonight, but it’s up to you if it’s a plain cake or something else!”

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