News РAndr̩ Greipel Back Winning

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Favourite in a bunch kick, André Greipel was back to winning ways on stage 1 of the World Ports stage race in Antwerp

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News РAndr̩ Greipel Back Winning

ASO Press Release
Among the favorites for victory on the World Ports Classic, André Greipel delivered in style, capturing victory after a bunch sprint in Antwerp. The German and his Lotto-Belisol team controlled the race and the escapees all along the 195 km of the course. It was then up to Greipel to power to glory, beating Porsev and Bos to the line.

WORLDPORTS_Stage_1_Greipel

Cloudy skies and windy conditions welcomed the riders of the third edition of the World Ports Classic in the center of Rotterdam for the start of stage 1. But the sky cleared as the 135 rider (one non-starter: Gavazzi of Astana) took off from the Dutch port for a 195km ride all the way to Antwerp in Belgium. As soon as they reached km 6, three men managed to break away: Van Zandbeek (RIJ), Hollanders (MET) and Stauff (MTN). The gap grew rapidly and reached 5 minutes at km 27.

The front three even enjoyed a maximum 6’40 lead over the pack at km 50. But teams OPQS, Belkin and Lotto-Belisol then started chasing along the Northern Sea in the breathtaking scenery of Zuid-Holland and Zeeland. The first intermediate sprint (km 74.5), set exactly where stage 2 of the 2015 Tour de France will take place, was claimed by Stauff ahead of Van Zandbeek and Hollanders, while the pack remained 6’30 adrift.

As the gap dropped down to 3’30 at km 110, the pack under the influence of the wind broke up into several groups. But despite the efforts of the Lotto-Belisol boys the pack bunched up together again. The front three men were finally caught at km 140 hunted down by team OPQS.

The Belgian squad that claimed the first two editions of the race carried on showing it meant business, pushing even harder as the pack broke into two. Sixty riders were left in the front group, enjoying a 25’’, but their efforts were to be vain as they were stopped by a train crossing at km 144.

At km 157, three riders took off despite the fast pace: Sinkeldam (GIA), Brandle (IAM) and Asselman (MET). They managed to stay clear of the pack all the way to the second bonus sprint (km 164.5) claimed by Sinkeldam who captured three precious bonus seconds.

The Young Dutchman then stopped his efforts as the race entered Belgium, leaving Brandle and Asselman in the lead. After enjoying a 45’’ advantage, the front two were caught at km 176 with under 20kms to go. The pack remained bunched at high speed led by the Lotto-Belisol team of André Greipel.

With 6kms to go, Vakoc (OPQS) and Eising (MET) gave it a go. Their attack only lasted a few kilometres as the pack stormed towards Antwerpen for what promised to be a bunched sprint. Beautifully led out by his squad, André Greipel flew to victory beating Porsev (KAT) and Bos (BEL) to the line.

After his crash during Gent-Wevelgem, the German claims his seventh win of the season (three stages in Oman, two at the Tour Down Under and one in Qatar). He also conquers the overall lead of the World Ports Classic, as well as the lead of the points classification while Sinkeldam is best Young rider.

The winner said afterwards “the team and I are relieved thanks to this victory, because it had been a while since we won. Also after all the bad luck we had in the spring it was necessary to grab this opportunity to get a bunch sprint. The team put its trust in me, the team spirit was right from kilometer zero. We stuck to the plan. At one moment we were a bit in trouble, due to a sanitary stop and a puncture for Greg Henderson. We weren’t part of the first echelon, but the luck was on our side. There was nothing wrong about it.”

“There was headwind in the final, that made it harder to time the lead-out. But the guys did it perfectly and rode to the front on the right moment. During the stage Frederik Willems was pulling at the front, in the chase on the escapees. Stig Broeckx and Jens Debusschere did a good job as well before the lead-out could be started up. We’ll see what happens tomorrow, for example if we get help from other teams to catch a breakaway.”

Brits
38. Andy Fenn, Omega Pharma Quickstep
119. Erick Rowsell, Netapp-Endura
121. Jonny McEvoy, Netapp-Endura

 


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