Team NetApp in the top 20 despite withdrawals
Contrary to expectations, today’s stage of the Ster ZLM Toer, from Verview to La Gileppe, was also decided by a sprint. After 188.8 kilometers Lars Boom (Rabobank) won ahead of Mark Cavendish (Sky) and his teammate Juan Antonio Flecha. Team NetApp’s Blaz Jarc had to withdraw from the race today as a result of the crash that he suffered during yesterday’s stage. Michael Schwarzmann also had to end the race prematurely today due to the bruises and abrasions he sustained when he crashed on the descent from La Redoute. Marcel Wyss and Leo König crossed the finish line today with the second group, moving up significantly in the rankings to 17th and 22nd place, respectively.
The most difficult stage of the tour was controlled initially by a four-man lead group, which managed to build up an advantage of four minutes. Two other riders joined them after 120 kilometers. Shortly after that, the group fell apart. As in past stages, the remaining breakaway riders did not stand a chance, because even the smaller peloton was able to control the lead group up until the end.
“Unfortunately, Blaz had to withdraw today. His crashes had such a negative effect on his muscles that he was only able to support the team for a short period of time. And then with Michael’s crash we were down two men. We tried to attack on La Redoute, but unfortunately we didn’t manage to pull away. So we weren’t able to leave our mark today,” reports Enrico Poitschke.
The riders will have to cover 163.5 kilometers on the final stage from Schijndel to Boxtel. The entire course is very flat, which means the wind could be a deciding factor. “Even if there are world-class sprinters competing here, we’ll try again tomorrow to make a good showing in the sprint,” Poitschke adds.
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