In His Own Words: Laurenzo Lapage On Eneco Tour Stage 4

Sat 11 Aug 2012

After four stages of Eneco Tour racing, ORICA-GreenEDGE continues to dominate the top ten overall. Occupying places second, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth, the team boasts five riders within six seconds of race leader Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) who leapfrogged up to first today after taking two bonus seconds on the third intermediate sprint. Sports Director Laurenzo Lapage shares his thoughts on the day.

There was nothing remarkable about the early race action. A breakaway of six riders formed after the first kilometer, and we were happy with the composition of the group.

We dedicated Leigh Howard to the chase. Because there are several sprint teams still chasing stage victory, we had a lot of help in setting the tempo. We didn’t need to use up additional riders because other teams shared our goals.

The stage today, like the others, included three intermediate sprints, and each intermediate sprint awarded bonus seconds to the first three riders across the line. Three seconds for the first rider, two seconds for the second rider and one second for the third rider. The break took the bonus seconds on the first two intermediate sprints, and we wanted to let them take the seconds on the third sprint as well. Omega Phara-QuickStep, with five riders one second outside of the race lead, had other ideas. All but one rider from the break rejoined the field one kilometer before the third intermediate sprint.

We attempted to put Jens Keukeleire, who started the day in the leader’s jersey, in a position to contest the sprint. It didn’t work out, so Aidis Kruopis went for the sprint. Boonen finished second. Aidis was just behind in third. Because Aidis lost seconds due to a flat tire on the time trial, he was not one of our riders in contention for the race lead. Boonen’s two seconds were enough to make him the virtual leader on the road by one second and, eventually, the race leader.

The final 25 kilometers were extremely dangerous. The team stayed as close to the front as possible, and everyone managed to stay safe. Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shiamno) won the stage. Aidis sprinted to eighth.

Although we lost the leader’s jersey today, we are in the perfect position thinking about the time trial on Saturday. We have five riders in the top ten, all within six seconds of the race lead. Jens Keukeleire is our best-placed rider in second, one second down on Boonen. Sebastian Langeveld, Luke Durbridge, Jens Mouris and Svein Tuft are all tied on time, six seconds down. Our goal for tomorrow is to stay in this situation and head into the time trial in a position to regain the race lead.