Eneco Tour Sprinters Surprised by Late Race Attack

Mon 12 Aug 2013

In an increasingly common late race move, Mark Renshaw (Belkin) opened up a gap just prior to the flamme rouge to solo to victory 2” ahead of the field on the first stage of the Eneco Tour. Andre Greipel  (Lotto Belisol) piped Giacomo Nizzolo (RadioShack-Leopard-Trek) for second. Aidis Kruopis was the team’s best-placed rider in 30th place on bunch time.

The seven day tour kicked off in Belgium in Koksijde on Monday. Three riders formed the early break on stage one with Topsport  Vlaanderen-Baloise teammates Laurens De Vreese and Pieter Jacobs combining forces with Benjamin Varraes (Accent Jobs-Wanty). The trio stretched out their advantage beyond the eight minute mark before a variety of teams with an interest in a bunch kick contributed to the chase. By the time the leaders hit the finish circuit in Ardooie for two 15km laps, the gap had slipped to two minutes.

The break was in sight as the peloton began the final lap and caught shortly thereafter. ORICA-GreenEDGE came to fore after the catch, stringing out the peloton under the impetuous of quick tempo.

“We worked on the local laps to stay out of trouble,” said Sport Director Laurenzo Lapage. “In the back, there were riders that were dropping off as you saw with Bradley Wiggins (Sky) and Stijn Devolder (RadioShack-Leopard-Trek). It was important to be in good position.”

The pace slowed slightly after the second intermediate sprint as the lead-out trains began to take shape. Belkin, Lotto-Belisol and fought for control at the head of affairs.

Just ahead of the flamme rouge, the road narrowed as the peloton negotiated two turns in quick succession. Renshaw, who intended to lead out his teammate Theo Bos, opened up a slight advantage that the peloton was never able to close.

“The plan today was to ride for Aidis,” said Lapage. “The finish was a little bit special because Belkin did a great job in the last two corners while we lost some places. The boys did a good job until that point and are ready for the next day.”