Blaz Jarc sprints into 4th place once again
The first stage of the World Ports Classic covered 201 kilometers and was decided in a sprint by a larger lead group. Belgian top sprinter Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) relegated German sprinter Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) of Norway to second and third place.
NetApp's Blaz Jarc surprised again with a fourth place finish in the sprint. Daniel Schorn was also represented in the lead group and sprinted to 10th place.
The first World Ports Classic started with a lot of wind and rain. The peloton immediately set a fast pace, making it impossible for any group to break away. The first crosswind came after 20 kilometers, splitting up the peloton into several groups. Daniel Schorn managed to get into the first group, which was filled with such strong riders that the second group could not catch up over the next 130 kilometers. Instead, several riders from the first group fell behind. It was only when two riders from the second group attacked that collaboration was interrupted and the second group was able to catch up to the first group. The only NetApp rider who was able to move out of the second group was Blaz Jarc. The two breakaway groups were caught four kilometers before the finish, and the race was decided in a sprint.
"Our goal was to be in the decisive groups, which we managed to do from the very beginning with Jan and Cesare. Many of our guys also managed to get into the important second group, but only Blaz was able to assert himself. Although Blaz and Daniel had to expend a lot of energy, they were still able to finish quite well despite the tough competition. Tactically the race went very well for us today," Enrico Poitschke said following the race.
Tomorrow's second and final stage of the World Ports Classic will cover 162 kilometers from Antwerp to Rotterdam. Although the course mainly takes place inland, the weather conditions typical for this region will still play a role.
Daniel Schorn, Andre Schulze, Blaz Jarc, Michael Schwarzmann, Markus Eichler, Cesare Benedetti, Andreas Schillinger