In His Own Words: DS Laurenzo Lapage on Tour de l'Eurométropole Stages 3&4

Sun 6 Oct 2013

The second half of the Tour de l’Eurométropole was reminiscent of the first. Like stages one and two, stage three and four both ended in bunch kicks. Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) secured his first European win of the season on Saturday while John Degenkolb took the win on stage four.

Although Degenkolb was initially declared the general classification winner, official results confirmed that Jens Debusschere (Lotto Belisol) narrowly edged out the German on count-back to win the overall.  In his own words, Sport Director Laurenzo Lapage reviews the final two days of racing below.

Stage 3: Hazebrouck – Nieuwpoort

The plan was to keep four guys fresh for the stage three sprint so we could go for Aidis Kruopis again in the sprint. We gave Wes Sulzberger free roam if he wanted to ride for himself today.

The race was mostly straightforward. Again things came together for the sprint. The guys did their jobs. Two kilometres from the finish, they were all there near the front. Unfortunately, there were a lot of crashes in the final. We were able to avoid them but Aidis got out of position just before the last corner. He finished in 18th place.

Although the result was worse than yesterday, I saw a better team today at the end. They were all together and exactly in the position we had planned. That’s how I know everyone is doing his job.

Tomorrow we have the last stage, and it will almost certainly be a sprint. We’ll try again with Aidis. With the positives things I saw today, I’m hopeful we can end the race with a better result.

Stage 4: Mons – Tournai

We raced a more aggressive race today than any of the other days. As usual, there was an early break – today with five riders. We did not need to be in this move. When the break was caught with 50km left, all of our guys tried to get in the late moves.

Michael Hepburn, Mitch Docker and Wesley Sulzberger were away in small groups for a short time. Like all the other days, it was together for a sprit in the end.  Jens Mouris brought Aidis Kruopis in a good position for the last corner. Aidis was fifth wheel at 300 metres. We saw today that Aidis was in the right place but didn’t have the legs to sprint for a result. He finished in 13th place on the last stage.

In the end, it was a quiet tour for us. We weren’t competitive in the sprints. The riders who will race in China came out better than they arrived. That was an important objective and a positive point for us.

This was our last stage race in Europe. Tour of Beijing is up next – the final team race of the season. It’s been a long season, and I think most of the riders are ready for their break.