In His Own Words: DS Laurenzo Lapage on Tour de l'EuromÃ©tropole Stages 1-2Fri 4 Oct 2013
As projected, the first two days of the final European stage race of the season ended in a bunch sprint. Jens Debusschere (Lotto Belisol) was first across the line on stage one of Tour de l’Eurométropole. John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) emerged victorious on day two. The Belgian leads his home country tour at the mid-point of the four day race. In his own words, Sport Director Laurenzo Lapage reviews the first two days of racing below.
Stage 1: La Louvière - Moorslede
It took more than an hour for the first move to go away. The beginning was very fast. This is normal with a lot of continental teams here and guys without contracts who want to show themselves. We had really good weather with a lot of tailwind, which made things even faster.
After 50km, we had a breakaway of six riders. One of the guys got dropped over the first climb, so there only five after that. It wasn’t too hard to control. Teams like Argos-Shimano and Lotto Belisol did the work. They never let the break go too far, so we actually didn’t have to do anything to help. We were very sure it would come down to a sprint.
We planned to set-up for the sprint, but the guys had trouble finding each other. They didn’t put a train together. So the result in the end was no result for us. We’ll try again tomorrow.
Debusschere won the stage ahead of Nikolas Maes (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) and Kenneth Vanbilsen (Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise). Mitch Docker was best for us in 22nd place.
Stage two is going to be harder than stage one. The wind can play a bigger role. We race eight circuits from 21.4km, and each lap includes one of the climbs from Gent Wevelgem. It’s more open, and the breakaway will be more dangerous. We’ll try to put one of the guys in the breakaway tomorrow and hope for a better result.
Stage 2: Poperinge - Poperinge
The plan today was to go into the breakaway if there was a move with more than five or six guys on the road. There were two different moves likes this. We missed both of them.
The break had a better chance today than yesterday but eventually it came back together in the sprint. We only had three riders in the first group, and they made the sprint for Aidis [Kruopis].
Degenkolb sprinted to victory ahead of Jean-Pierre Drucker (Accent.jobs-Wanty) and Debusschere, who held onto the leader’s jersey. Aidis finished in 13th place. The result was better than yesterday, but it’s still not really great. We are after stage wins.
We lost two riders today. Leigh Howard had to quit today because he felt sick from stomach pains. Sam Bewley also stopped. He has been dealing with illness and injury for almost the last month. We only started with seven, so it’s now just five for the next two days. We hope to do a better result tomorrow.