Team NetApp again caught up in a crash
During the second stage of the Ster ZLM Toer, which started and finished in Schimmert, Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) managed to prevail again in the mass sprint. Mark Cavendish (Team Sky) and Mark Renshaw (Team Rabobank) placed second and third respectively. A major crash with just 3.5 kilometers to go forced many riders to slow down and stop. This included most of the Team NetApp riders, who were able to finish the race without any injuries.
Although the 167-km course was quite demanding, with four mountain classifications, the stage was taken at a very fast pace. The peloton was 25 minutes ahead of schedule. An attack group again managed to break away from the field early on. The five riders held on to their lead until shortly before the finish, when the sprint teams initiated their final push.
“The race was quite difficult as far as the route was concerned. Although we were paying close attention, unfortunately we missed out on joining the lead group. There were a lot of attacks again after the breakaway riders were caught by the sprint teams. And then, with 3.5 kilometers to go, there was a crash that blocked the street. That threw us completely off our rhythm for the final section,” explains Sport Director Enrico Poitschke.
The third stage extends from Verviers to La Gileppe. The 189-km route includes five mountain classifications and covers some of the same stretches as the Liège–Bastogne–Liège classic race.
“The outcome of the tour may be decided early during tomorrow’s stage. Ultimately, those riders who are also good classics riders will come out on top,” says Enrico Poitschke, looking ahead to tomorrow.
stage 1, 14 June: Eindhoven – Sittard/Geleen, 151 km
stage 2, 15 June: Nuth (Schimmert) – Nuth (Schimmert), 167 km
stage 3, 16 June: Hotel Verviers – La Gileppe (Jalhay) Belgium, 187 km
stage 4, 17 June: Schijndel – Boxtel, 163.5 km