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“In hindsight it's a shame that I was held up by a crash in the first stage. It was in the last three kilometres but I still lost 13 seconds. Those 13 seconds would have gotten me in the top ten of the overall classification."

Photo: ©Kramon








25.05.2015 @ 17:45 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

In Norway Jérôme Baugnies, Kévin Van Melsen, Yannick Eijssen, Francis De Greef, Marco Minnaard and Lander Seynaeve started the Tour of Norway for Wanty-Groupe Gobert.


“This five-day stage race is not the easiest. It was cold at altitude, there was snow and the wind was playing its role as well," sports director Steven De Neef explains.


“After the first stage we lost Baugnies through illness, he didn't start on Thursday, and Van Melsen with a knee injury. He abandoned during the second stage. The race started on a negative note like this. Moreover the two first stages ended in bunch sprints. We might have had a little chance in those with Baugnies, but not a chance of winning."


After the second stage the four remaining Wanty-Groupe Gobert riders showed their character on the still snowy hills in southern Norway. Both Minnaard as De Greef were in the first chasing group on Flisetjønn, at 1,265 metres the highest climb of the race. 


“It is a shame that I let them surprise me a little there," De Greef reacts. “I was at the front on that long climb when a group bridged. After that they attacked. I doubted for a second and they were gone. These six sprinted for victory."


In the fourth stage, with three tough climbs the queen's stage of the Tour of Norway, De Greef showed character again and finished in seventh place. 


“In hindsight it's a shame that I was held up by a crash in the first stage. It was in the last three kilometres but I still lost 13 seconds. Those 13 seconds would have gotten me in the top ten of the overall classification," he concludes. 


Yannick Eijssen showed his strenght in the final stage where he finished in ninth place. "I felt I was getting better during this race. Today was a stage that suited me as a rider. I hope to feel the same in Tour des Fjords and, if possible, go for a result there as well."


Eijssen, De Greef, Minnaard and Seynaeve travel on to Bergen for the start of the Tour des Fjords this Wednesday. Jérôme Baugnies has recovered and has been able to some good training in Norway. The stage winner in last year's race, and the number three overall, will be joined by Marco Marcato. 


Marcato finished sixth overall in 2014, after netting a top te result in in four out of five stages.


“I feel confident about the Tour des Fjords," sports director Steven De Neef says. “This is a great race where attackers get their chances. We have a good team for that with Baugnies and Marcato as captains. " 



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