Report: Meersman Sprints to Victory in Challenge Mallorca


Second win for Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in the one day as Meersman Sprints to victory in the Trofeo Platja de Muro

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Meersman Sprints to Victory in Challenge Mallorca

OPQS took control of a front group in the final kilometres of the stage in the hope of a second straight victory at Trofeo Mallorca, following Michal Kwiatkowski’s solo win on Tuesday. The front group was down to 45 riders with 26km to go and the team made sure it was always a factor in the remainder of the race. Meersman went on to beat Fran Ventoso (Movistar Team) and Ben Swift (Team Sky).

OPQS has now won seven races — in three disciplines — in 2014. All five road victories were at Tour of Qatar and Trofeo Mallorca. Meersman also has an important addition to his palmares, as this is the earliest he’s won a race in any season.

120214 OPQS Tour Mallorca Stage 4 - PodiumMEERSMAN (c)Tim De Waele

Photo: OPQS/Tim de Waele

“It was a hard race with a breakaway (14 riders) from the beginning including Serge Pauwels,” Meersman said. “Sky controlled the race. At the bottom of the last climb, there was an acceleration. During the climb we were there with 40 or more guys and in the last 15km the team took the initiative.”

“We had six or seven guys in the front and we worked together like a great team. They brought me to the last kilometres. In the final kilometre Michal Kwiatkowski led me into the best position to do my sprint. At that point I launched and managed to beat Ventoso and Swift, finishing the job of my team. I am very happy about this team.”

“Everybody was in the front from the beginning until the end. Everybody is motivated and the atmosphere is really good, even among the staff. Today we knew everything about the finish — all the small details. The team trusts in me and it’s really nice to ride for a team like that, where everybody knows their position and that we have common goals.”

“I think that this victory paid off also the work I did during the winter. It’s my third race of the season and I’ve already won a race, so it’s nice. My next race will be Classic Sud-Ardeche, and I carry great morale from Mallorca as I take my next steps.”

OPQS Sport Director Tom Steels said he is proud of how the team is performing as a unit. “With this group, we knew we had a good and competitive team that sticks together all the time,” Steels said. “We’ve won two stages with Kwiatkowski and Meersman, but we were protagonists always, even in the first two stages. We were also intelligent in the race. This team is a presence in all the situations, and are really united. They work so well together, and it is a pleasure to lead a team like that.”

120214 OPQS Tour Mallorca Stage 4 - ArrivalMEERSMAN (c) Tim De Waele

Photo: OPQS/Tim de Waele

Sky Outgunned by Quickstep
Whilst Team Sky were outgunned by the might of Omega Pharma Quickstep, the stage proved positive in many respects. It was their third consecutive podium finish in Mallorca and good for Swift to show the form is good with plenty of racing to come. The Sheffield rider capped off a consistent block of racing on the island which saw the team ride hard in search of an elusive victory. The stage also saw Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins having a good workout on the flat at the front of the peloton as he prepares for a tilt at some classics.

1 MEERSMAN Gianni Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 03:50:07
2 VENTOSO Fran Movistar Team
3 SWIFT Ben Team Sky
4 MODOLO Sacha Lampre – Merida
5 GAVAZZI Francesco Astana Pro Team
6 BOASSON HAGEN Edvald Team Sky
7 ALBASINI Michael Orica GreenEDGE
8 CHERNETCKII Sergei Team Katusha
9 PICHOT Alexandre Team Europcar
10 WEGMANN Fabian Garmin Sharp

13 KOLOBNEV Alexandr Team Katusha 00:06
17 CUNEGO Damiano Lampre – Merida 00:09
18 COSTA Rui Lampre – Merida
50 ROWSELL Erick Team NetApp – Endura 9.30
58 YATES Adam Orica GreenEDGE
69 YATES Simon Orica GreenEDGE
96 MILLAR David Garmin Sharp
107 EDMONDSON Joshua Team Sky 16:40
108 KENNAUGH Peter Team Sky

DNF WIGGINS Bradley Team Sky


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