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After a big sprint battle between Lotto Soudal and LottoNL-Jumbo, Groenewegen came around Greipel to win the 100th edition of Rund um Köln in a bunch kick; Arndt completed the podium

Photo: Team LottoNL-Jumbo

ANDRÉ GREIPEL

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DYLAN GROENEWEGEN

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NIKIAS ARNDT

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RUND UM KÖLN

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TEAM JUMBO-VISMA

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12.06.2016 @ 18:22 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) continued his dream start to his WorldTour career by winning the 100th edition of Rund um Köln just a week after he won the Heistse Pijl. After a big battle between the Lotto Soudal and LottoNL-Jumbo trains, he beat local hero André Greipel (Lotto Soudal) who had launched the sprint, with Nikias Arndt (Giant-Alpecin) making it two German riders on the podium.

 

For several years, it has been evident that Dylan Groenewegen was one of the most exciting sprint talents. However, it was his win at last year’s Brussels Cycling Classic that made him a household name in the cycling world and LottoNL-Jumbo was quick to react, offering him his first WorldTour contract.

 

The Dutch team signed Groenewegen to increase their meagre winning tally and invested a lot in building a sprint train for their new star. The sprinter has paid them back for their confidence right from the start as he won stages in the Volta a la Valenciana, Tour de Yorkshire and 3 Days of West-Flanders during the winter and sprint months and also achieved several places of honour.

 

After a less successful trip to California, Groenewegen was back in Europe for the one-day race Heistse Pijl where he proved that he is set for a great summer as he rode to an impressive win in a tough finale. That made him confident that he would be able to take on local hero and big favourite André Greipel in today’s 100th edition of the Rund um Köln and he delivered the goods as he beat the in-form German in the expected bunch kick.

 

 

The 100th edition of the race was held on a relatively classic 205.8km course that both started and finished in the centre of Köln. After a flat start, the peloton headed into the hillier terrain on the northeastern outskirts of the city where they tackled two categorized climbs during the first 90km. After a long descent, they covered a 55.8km circuit with two short climbs twice. They reached the top of the final climb with 36.6km to go and then they headed along descending and flat roads back to the city where they ended the race by doing two laps of a flat 6.2km circuit.

 

It was a cloudy day when the riders gathered in Köln. Due to a few crashes, the neutral zone was a bit longer than planned but as soon as they got going, the attacks started to fly. Carl Soballa (LKT) and Sieben Wouters (Rabobank) managed to get a 20-second advantage in the first 10km before Samuel Williams (ONE), Mario Vogt (rad-net) and Jaap de Man (3M) gave chase.

 

Peter Lenderink (Rabobank) joined the chasers and as the peloton slowed down, the gap to the leaders went out to 2.40. After 20km of racing, the four chasers joined the leaders and so a sextet had gathered in front after Soballa had beaten Wouters and De Man in the first intermediate sprint.

 

The gap continued to grow and had reached five minutes when Lenderink beat Vogt and Wouters in the first KOM sprint. They crested the summit of the second climb at the 74.4km mark in the same order.

 

The peloton kept the gap stable between 4.30 and 5.00 for a long time before they increased the pace significantly in the hilly terrain. The bunch split in two and only 40 riders were left in the main group when the gap had dropped to 3.30.

 

A regrouping took place and home team Bora-Argon 18 took control before they sent Michael Schwarzmann of in an attack with Lennard Hofstede (Rabobank). As nobody reacted, they quickly put one minute into the peloton but still found themselves 2.40 behind the leaders.

 

Giant-Alpecin took control in the peloton and got some help from Kuota-Lotto. Further up the road, Lenderink beat Wouters and Vogt in the third KOM sprint. Moments later, he beat Vogt and Wouters in the fourth KOM sprint after De Man had lost contact.

 

The peloton brought Schwarzmann, Hofstede and De Man back while also reducing the gap to two minutes at the 128.5km mark where Wouters beat Soballa and Lenderink in the second intermediate sprint. The chase briefly got disrupted by a small crash in the feed zone but everybody quickly rejoined the bounch.

 

Surprisingly, the front quintet managed to extend the advantage to four minutes but that didn’t stop Marcel Meisen (Kuota Lotto) from trying to bridge the gap. Meanwhile, riders were getting dropped as the hilly terrain took its toll.

 

Meisen failed to get clear and instead the peloton upped the pace, reducing the gap to just 1.50 as they hit the fifth climb. Before they got there, Manuel Senni (BMC) and Clement Koretzky (Vorarlberg) took off in pursuit and after a hard chase, they managed to bridge the gap.

 

There was no longer any cooperation among the leaders and so Vogt and Lenderink attacked. Senni was in lone pursuit, with Soballa following further back. The latter two rejoined the two leaders while Wouters, Koretzky and Williams were caught.

 

With 35km to go, the gap had dropped to just 30 seconds but the quartet managed to push it out to 45 seconds before Soballa beat Vogt and Senni in the third intermediate sprint. However, they soon started to lose ground and with 14km to go, it was all back together.

 

Nathan Müller (Heizomat) led the peloton across the line for the first time to win the final intermediate sprint ahead of Silvio Herklotz and Andreas Schillinger (both Bora Argon 18). Everything suggested that we were heading for a bunch sprint but Taylor Phinney (BMC) had different plans. The American launched a strong attack and started the final lap with a 10-second advantage.

 

LottoNL-Jumbo hit the front and managed to bring Phinney back. They went head to head with the Lotto Soudal train in the finale and it was Greipel who opened the sprint from fourth position. However, he failed to hold off Groenewegen who took the win, with Nikias Arndt and the Dimension Data pair of Kristian Sbaragli and Mark Renshaw rounding out the top 5.

 

With the Rund um Köln done and dusted, attention in Germany turns to the national championships which take place in two weeks. The next major international race in the country is the WorldTour race Vattenfall Cyclassics which is held in August.

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