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With a time of 7.23, van Emden beat the BMC pair of Phinney and Küng in the technical 6.4km prologue of the Ster ZLM Toer; the Dutchman is the first leader of the race

Photo: LottoNL-Jumbo

JOS VAN EMDEN

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STEFAN KÜNG

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STER ZLM TOUR

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TAYLOR PHINNEY

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TEAM JUMBO-VISMA

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15.06.2016 @ 22:48 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

One month after the huge disappointment at the Giro d’Italia, Jos van Emden (LottoNL-Jumbo) got his revenge in another prologue on home soil when he won the opening stage of the Ster ZLM Toer. The Dutchman was in a class of his own on the technical 6.4km course as he beat the BMC pair of Taylor Phinney and Stefan Küng by 3 and 4 seconds respectively to move into first position in the overall standings.

 

One month ago, Jos van Emden had one of the biggest disappointments of his sporting career when he crashed in the first stage of the Giro d’Italia. Riding on home soil, the Dutchman had made the time trial a huge goal in his season but it all came to nothing when he went too fast through a corner.

 

Today he was back in a time trial in his home country and even though the Ster ZLM Toer is a far smaller race than the Giro, the opening prologue of the Dutch race offered him a first chance to get a small revenge. The Dutchman was motivated as he rolled down the ramp on the 6.4km course in Goes this evening and this time he made no mistakes as he proved to be clearly the fastest.

 

Van Emden covered the course in 7.23 and that was three seconds faster than the time of Taylor Phinney who had beaten his BMC teammate Stefan Küng by a second less than one minute earlier. As the final three starters were not even close to the LottoNL-Jumbo rider, he could step onto the podium as a stage winner for the time since the time trial at last year’s Eneco Tour.

 

It was last year’s winner Roger Kluge (IAM) who led the stage for most of the day but his time of 7.28 was finally beaten when Küng went one second faster. The Swiss had started the stage as one of the big favourites but was beaten by teammate Phinney who was close to his first European win since his comeback from a broken leg. However, he was denied by van Emden.

 

The five-day Dutch race is usually won by a time triallist who can do a good prologue, a puncheur who can do well in Saturday’s queen stage or a sprinter who can pick up bonus seconds in the bunch sprints. In the fight for the overall win, puncheurs like Sean De Bie (Lotto Soudal), Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo), Moreno Moser (Cannondale) and Wout van Aert (Crelan) all got the race off to a fine start as they finished in the top 10.

 

Among the sprinters, Marcel Kittel (Etixx-QuickStep) did best as he finished 10th, just 9 seconds adrift. Nikias Arndt (Giant-Alpecin) also did well to take 15th while defending champion André Greipel (Lotto Soudal) seems to be out of contention as he lost 21 seconds in 29th.

 

With the win, van Emden is of course also the first leader of the race. He will try to defend his position in tomorrow’s completely flat second stage which is held around the city of Oss. First the riders will do two laps of 63.6km circuit and then the race will end with three laps of shorter 20.3km circuit where the sprinters are expected to shine and a stage win for Kittel will be enough for the German to take the yellow jersey.

 

A technical prologue

The 2016 edition of the Ster ZLM Toer kicked off with the same 6.4km prologue that opened last year’s race. It was held in the city of Goes and was completely flat with several turns, especially in the first part. The second half was more straightforward and suited to more powerful riders.

 

It was a dry evening when Michael Vingerling (3M) rolled down the ramp as the first rider and he covered the course in a time of 7.57 to set an early mark which would hold for a few minutes before Martijn Tusveld (Rabobank) – the sixth rider on the course – stopped the clock in 7.46. Jan-Willem Van Schip (De Rijke) also beat his time as he slotted into second with 7.52.

 

Drucker takes the lead

Jason Lowndes (Drapac) posted the fourth best time of 7.57 but was quickly beaten by Stijn Steels (Topsport) who was two seconds faster. It was Leigh Howard (IAM) who was expected to be the first threat for Tusveld but he had to settle for second with 7.47.

 

Jempy Drucker (BMC) won the Tour de Luxembourg prologue and was expected to be a contender. He lived up to predictions by taking the lead with a time of 7.44. Maarten Wynants (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Gianni Meersman (Etixx-QuickStep) both had disappointing rides with 7.55.

 

Best time for Kluge

It was recent Boucles de la Mayenne stage winner Tom Scully (Drapac) who beat Drucker as he stopped the clock in 7.37 and that was four seconds better than Gijs Van Hoecke (Topsport Vlaanderen) who had to settle for second. However, Scully never got to sit in the hot seat as he had barely caught his breath before last year’s winner Roger Kluge posted a time of 7.28 to take the lead.

 

Ramunas Navarduaskas (Cannondale) slotted into third with 7.38 and Tom Leezer (LottoNL) was sixth with 7.45. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Etixx-QuickStep) had a disappointing ride with 7.48 which moved him into eighth. Frederik Frison (Lotto Soudal) was better with 7.41 which was enough to take fourth.

 

Roosen gets close

Adam Phelan (Drapac) was the next to make it into the top 10 with 7.51 but it was Timo Roosen (LottoNL-Jumbo) who was the first threat for Kluge. The Dutchman stopped the clock in 7.32 which saw him post the second best time.

 

Jochem Hoekstra (Parkhotel) delivered a small surprise by making it into the top 10 with 7.45 but he was pushed down one spot by Brian van Goethem (Roompot) who was fractions of a second faster. Much to the delight of the home public Maarten Tjallingii (LottoNL-Jumbo) made it into the top 10 in the final TT of his life as he stopped the clock in 7.42.

 

Near-miss for De Bie

Former winner of the prologue Robert Wagner (LottoNL-Jumbo) was unable to do it again as 7.40 was only good enough for fifth. He was fractions of a second faster than Davide Martinelli (Etixx-QuickStep) who slotted into sixth.

 

Time trial specialist Ryan Mullen (Cannondale) confirmed his class by taking third at 7.35 and Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) posted the ninth best time of 7.41. However, it was Sean De Bie (Lotto Soudal) who gave Kluge the first big scare as he was just one second shy of beating the German.

 

Küng takes the lead

Much was expected from Belgium Tour prologue winner Wout Van Aert (Crelan) but his time of 7.32 was only good enough for third. The attention quickly turned to Küng and the Swiss lived up to his status as one of the big favourites as his time of 7.27 saw him take the lead by one second.

 

Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo) had a great ride to take fourth with 7.30 and Marcel Kittel (Etixx-QuickStep) again confirmed that he is a good time triallist by taking sixth with 7.32. Nikias Arndt (Giant-Alpecin) also had a good ride to take ninth with 7.36. He was pushed down one spot when Vegard Stake Laengen (IAM) posted the 8th best time of 7.35.

 

Van Emden takes the win

Moreno Moser (Cannondale) showed that he still has some of his Giro d’Italia form by posting the fifth best time of 7.31 but it was Phinney who would beat his teammate Küng. The American went one second faster than the Swiss but it was all in vain. Less than one minute later, van Emden blasted across the line with a time of 7.23 to take a comfortable lead.

 

Niki Terpstra (Etixx-QuickStep) had to settle for 7th with 7.30 and Søren Kragh (Giant-Alpecin) could only manage 12th with 7.33. As defending champion André Greipel (Lotto Soudal) was on a bad day with 7.44 for 29th, van Emden could step onto the podium as the stage winner.

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